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Ethanol company Poet (formerly Broin) today announced something called Ingreenuity, a "new initiative to enhance the environmental performance of ethanol." The first step in the process is to decrease the amount of water it takes to make the biofuel down to 2.33 gallons per gallon of ethanol, a 22 percent reduction compared to today's water usage rates. Instituting this reduction, called the Total Water Recovery process, is expected to take five years.
The main way Poet plans on reducing the amount of water used is by recycling cooling water instead of discharging it. Since it started making ethanol in 1988, Poet claims to have reduced the amount of water needed by 80 percent. Future steps in Ingreenuity are greenhouse gas reductions and the development of bio-based products.

Of course, Poet is not the only ethanol producer out there trying to limit the amount of water it takes to process feedstock into fuel. Coskata, for example, says that its cellulosic ethanol process requires less than a gallon of water for each gallon of ethanol it makes. Poet says it is willing to share its water reduction technology with other ethanol companies.

[Source: Poet]

PRESS RELEASE

POET plans to cut water use to 2.33 gallons per gallon of ethanol in five years
Water reduction is the first goal of Ingreenuity, the company's new initiative to enhance the environmental performance of ethanol

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (March 11, 2010) – POET plans to decrease water use in the production of ethanol by 22 percent over the next five years in the first goal of its sustainability iniative, Ingreenuity. If successful, it will cut the company's water used per gallon of ethanol from an average of 3 gallons to 2.33, an annual water savings of one billion gallons.

In a presentation to employees today, POET CEO Jeff Broin said the company is committed to producing ethanol as sustainably as possible and minimizing its impact on natural resources. "Fresh water is a precious natural resource that we do our utmost to conserve," Broin said. "We have seen tremendous efficiency gains in the 22 years I've been in this business, but we can and will continue to do better."

The reductions will come primarily through installing a proprietary process developed by POET engineers that recycles cooling water rather than discharging it. The Total Water Recovery process has recently been installed in three POET Biorefining locations – Bingham Lake (Minn.), Caro (Mich.) and Hudson (S.D.). Those facilities now average 2 to 2.5 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol.

To kick off the initiative, Broin announced that the POET Foundation has committed more than $420,000 to the non-profit Global Health Ministries (GHM) over the same five-year period as POET's water reduction goal. A portion of the funds will help GHM repair, construct and maintain 90 wells in Nigeria that that will give more than 300,000 people access to pure water.

POET will also look at water use beyond the company's facilities. Producers of the feedstock delivered to its 26 production facilities will be surveyed to determine how much is irrigated. Additionally, POET is looking to make its new Total Water Recovery process available to other ethanol producers.

In 2009, POET plants used an average of three gallons of water per gallon of ethanol, which is an 80 percent decrease from when the company first produced ethanol in 1988. That average includes the alternative sources of water used at several POET plants. At POET Biorefining – Corning (Iowa) most of the water used for cooling comes from the Corning Waste Water Treatment Plant. One hundred percent of the water at POET Biorefining – Portland, Ind. is recycled from a nearby quarry. POET Biorefining – Big Stone, S.D. gets 80 percent of its water from the cooling ponds of an adjacent power plant and discharges it back to the power plant.

Water reduction is the first goal of Ingreenuity, POET's new initiative to improve the environmental performance of ethanol. The company is developing goals in other areas, including greenhouse gas reductions and the development of bio-based products. The final goals and progress reports will be available at http://www.ingreenuity.com. The speeches from today's launch can be viewed on POET TV.

About POET
POET, the largest ethanol producer in the world, is a leader in biorefining through its efficient, vertically integrated approach to production. The 22-year-old company produces more than 1.54 billion gallons of ethanol annually from 26 production facilities nationwide. POET recently started up a pilot-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, which uses corn cobs as feedstock, and will commercialize the process in Emmetsburg, Iowa. For more information, visit http://www.poet.com
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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      It takes millions of gallons to grow the corn first. This is where water is wasted - not at processing.
        • 6 Months Ago
        Ethanol corn is not irrigated.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's far less water than is needed to "make" a gallon of gasoline or diesel.

      Ethanol wins again. Bye-bye oil cartel.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Good news, but ethanol has a while to go still.

        Whatever happened to algae & bacteria fuel anyway.. haven't heard about those in a while.
        • 5 Years Ago
        paulwesterberg, the drive for efficiency has slipped its moorings and is rampaging out of context. Efficiency is important if oil is the only possible fuel and your only choice is to mitigate the damage. But that's not the case.

        Who cares if you need to fill up 3 times a month instead of twice if the fuel is renewable, clean-burning, can't pollute the water, can't have its market cornered by a price-spiking cartel, and doesn't fund terrorists and crazies?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm glad that we both want algae and bacteria based Ethanol.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Too bad a gallon of ethanol contains much less energy

        So? everything has a trade off you want more power per Gal ? Oil is it. But think of the down sides.

        Ethanol has less power per gal . But the supply is more stable the money spent on it stays in the U.S. In a pinch I could make it at home. But yea it would need to be a really BIG pinch.

        It depends on what your goals are
        • 5 Years Ago
        Too bad a gallon of ethanol contains much less energy, and then you burn it in an engine that is only 20-25% efficient which leads to horrible mileage.

        ethanol: 75,700 Btu/gallon
        gasoline: 125,000
        diesel: 130,500 Btu/gallon

        http://bioenergy.ornl.gov/papers/misc/energy_conv.html
      • 5 Years Ago
      BTU per gallon has nothing to do with mpg. It simply tells you how much heat you would get if you 100% burned a gallon of whatever. Heat is not what you want to make in an internal combustion engine. You want to make torque and ethanol is far superior in that category than gas or diesel.

      Mother Earth news proved over 25 years ago that if you switch from gas to pure ethanol you should expect no more than 5% difference in mileage as they did with a 6 cyl pickup truck. The interesting thing is when they loaded the truck with a 2200 lb load (it's intended use) it got 16% better mileage than it ever did on gasoline with the same load.

      You also need to consider that ethanol was easily achieving 45 to 50% percent thermal efficiency almost 100 years ago in government testing. Current flex fuel vehicles are intentionally programmed to run rediculously rich when running E-85 for many reasons, none of which make any sense. Gasoline has to run between 12 and 14:1 air fuel ratio. Ethanol can run as rich as 5:1 to make power and as lean as 23:1 during idle and steady cruise for economy.
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