The largest ethanol producer in the United States is about to get larger, after Sioux Falls, South Dakota,-based POET announced on Friday it is building a new 80-million-gallon starch ethanol plant in Shelbyville, Indiana.
President Donald Trump's directive to the EPA to approve year-round E15 sales led to the company's decision, according to a news release from the company.
"This is the right project in the right location at the right time," POET Chief Executive Officer Jeff Broin said in a statement.
"Farmers desperately need the income boost from this new market for grain, and President Trump's recent announcement of year-round E15 sales has the biofuels industry poised for new growth and prosperity. Shelbyville is leading the way for future production to meet new E15 demand. We're excited to partner yet again with Indiana to create a cleaner, healthier environment for our children and grandchildren."
POET received final permit approval this week for the planned $160 million plant. Construction is slated to begin in the spring of 2020, according to the news release.
POET is the nation's top producer at about 2 billion gallons per year of production capacity.
The Shelbyville plant will be the 28th in POET's network and the fifth in Indiana. The company estimates it will create 45 full-time jobs and require about $110 million in annual corn purchases for farmers within a 30-mile radius. POET said in the release it plans to start hiring for full-time positions in spring 2019.
The EPA announced recently that it intends to offer a proposed E15 rule by February, with plans to finalize by the June 2019 driving season.
POET said in the news release that the full implementation of E15 nationally would add 7 billion gallons of biofuels demand and an additional 2 billion bushels of corn demand for farmers "who have been struggling with low crop prices and declining farm income over the last five years. This additional demand is important for communities that rely on agriculture to drive their economies."
Brian Asher, executive director of the Shelby County Development Corp. said the plant is an important economic development tool for his county.
"POET's project provides jobs right here in Shelby county, but its indirect effects will extend well beyond that," he said. "This boosts income for farmers, expands the tax base and circulates new dollars across the entire economy."
POET said in its news release that the new plant will feature "state-of-the-art" environmental controls and production processes such as the proprietary Total Water Recovery that eliminates process water discharge from the plant. In addition, the new plant will feature and POET's patented BPX process, which lowers energy use and increases yield.
The Shelbyville project is expected to create an additional corn demand of about 28 million bushels annually and at least $2 million in annual payroll.
POET's other Indiana ethanol plants are located in Alexandria, Cloverdale, North Manchester and Portland.
Todd Neeley can be reached at email@example.com
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