Sioux Falls, South Dakota,-based POET LLC on Thursday broke ground on an expansion project at its Alexandria, Indiana, ethanol plant to increase production of hand sanitizer, according to a news release from the company.
With the groundbreaking site work is scheduled to be completed in early 2021, according to the company. The project includes a $25 local investment, will create six new full-time jobs, and more than 50 construction jobs. The plant will be capable of producing 30 million to 35 million gallons of purified alcohol per year.
"At POET, our mission is to be good stewards of the earth by converting renewable resources into bio-based alternatives to fossil fuel," said Matt Braun, senior vice president and general manager at POET.
"With this in mind, a team at POET got together and worked around the clock to create a brand new, plant-based purified alcohol product. Purified alcohol is a fundamental component of hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies, which saw unprecedented shortages earlier this year."
A number of ethanol companies have expanded hand sanitizer production this year, starting last spring when there was a national shortage for sanitizer as a result of COVID-19.
"You have turned and burned to meet this moment, not just for our state but for our nation," Indiana Gov. Eric Holcolmb said during a groundbreaking ceremony at the plant.
"You are supplying the healthcare industry and our frontline workers who are being stressed and pulled in a lot of different directions to meet the needs of this war that we're waging on this virus that's spreading all over the country. We wouldn't be able to meet that moment without POET and our Hoosier farmers that are supplying you with the products that you need. It's truly a win, win scenario."
POET operates 28 ethanol plants in seven states. When its plants are operating at full capacity, POET purchases about 5% of corn and produces about 2 billion gallons of ethanol, 10 billion pounds of distillers dried grains, and 600 million pounds of corn oil annually.
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