When the bioethanol industry grows, agriculture wins. That’s a fact. I’ve seen it hold true in all my 35 years leading POET, and I have no doubt that it will continue to hold true as we take our next steps to grow biofuel’s impact on our world.
So it excites me to know we have already started moving toward the next step in this industry’s growth, putting us in an even larger role in the low-carbon economy.
Low-carbon is the future, not only for biofuels but for the entire energy and agriculture sectors. It is the clear direction our world needs to take in the short term in order to benefit future generations in the long term. And although there are still some who want to fight this evolution, at POET we are committed to leading it.
Around here, we think big. And we make big bets on those thoughts.
When I was 22 years old, my family took a risk on an industry that many thought would fail. At that time, bioethanol was a nice story to tell but still unprofitable and largely underutilized in the fuel market. Today bioethanol uses 40% of our nation’s corn crop and makes up more than 10% of America's gasoline supply.
In those early days, I went door-to-door selling distillers grain to farmers, even though some other bioethanol producers viewed it as a waste product. There were plenty of naysayers around the value of distillers grain back then — but today, it’s the second-largest feed ingredient in the U.S., just behind corn.
I could share similar stories about many other major moves POET has made over the years. That includes the creation of new bioproducts, the merging of all of our companies into one strong entity, and our 2021 acquisition of six additional facilities. We are always willing to move forward with what we believe is the right thing to do, and that has set us apart.
Now it’s time to make investments on the low-carbon future. Biofuel producers and farmers needs to have a seat at the table, and in order to make that happen, we must continue to drive biofuels toward carbon neutrality and capture the full value of renewable CO2 for farm families and rural communities across the Midwest.
Some of that will happen through improvements at the plant. POET has constantly improved the overall sustainability of our process through investments in technology like combined heat and power, solar power, CO2 capture for commercial use, waste-to-energy, and total water recovery.
Some of that will happen on the farm, where farmers continue to adopt carbon-smart ag practices like precision farming, low-till and no-till, and cover crops while improving yields to make American agriculture the best in the world.
And some of that will happen by thinking big and embracing new solutions to the carbon challenge. POET has joined the Navigator CO2 Heartland Greenway carbon capture system. The system will phase in all 18 POET facilities in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. This is a game-changing development that will increase the value of corn and bioethanol and create local jobs..
We believe carbon capture systems are an important piece of the carbon reduction puzzle. By creating new opportunities for biofuels, we believe this will bring long-term value back to the farm, ensuring that agriculture continues to play a key role in moving our world toward a more sustainable future.
I often say you have to lead, follow, or get out of the way. At POET, we have always worked hard to do the right thing to lead this industry forward. Now it’s time for us to lead the way to the low-carbon future.