Poet Plans Ethanol Plant Expansion

Corn Demand to Expand 1.8 Million Bushels

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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OMAHA (DTN) -- Poet plans to expand production capacity at its corn-ethanol plant in Hudson in southeastern South Dakota, according to a permit application filed with the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Monday.

It would be the second such expansion at the plant in the year. The Hudson plant launched production in May 2004. Poet is based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Poet currently has a production capacity of about 60 million gallons per year at the Hudson plant and has asked for a permit to expand to 73.7 million gallons per year. Matt Merritt, director of public relations for Poet told DTN the company plans to expand to 65 million gallons. The permit for 73.7 million gallons was requested for potential future expansion.

Based on current corn-ethanol production standards of 2.8 gallons of ethanol produced from each bushel of corn, the additional 5 million gallons of production capacity has the potential to increase corn demand at the Hudson plant by about 1.8 million bushels annually. That would be the case if the plant produced at a full production capacity of about 65 million gallons.

According to Poet's permit application, the plant would expand dried distillers grains, or DDG, production at the Hudson plant from 23 tons to 25.3 tons per hour, equal to another 27,200 short tons of DDG annually.

"With the production of the ethanol and dried distiller grain solubles, the actual and potential of the following will increase," DENR said in a statement of basis for the construction permit, including truck and rail loadout of ethanol.

According to Poet's permit application, the plant would install an additional fifth hammer mill and baghouse; upgrade the pneumatic flour conveyor including a new baghouse; add a sixth fermenter, a second beer stripper and a fourth molecular sieve; replace a scrubber packing; add a sixth centrifuge; increase the production rate of the dryer system, and increase the short-term emission limits for the wet scrubber.

Poet's Hudson plant is about 2 miles south of Hudson along the Sioux River and was the 19th plant designed and constructed by Poet and the 14th plant managed by Poet, according to the company's website.

Poet launched ethanol production at the plant in less than 10 months after construction, achieving its original nameplate production capacity of 56 million gallons per year within five days.

The Hudson plant employs about 40 people with an annual payroll of about $1.5 million, according to the company.

"We are always interested in buying corn from local producers, and as an ethanol facility, we add much value to the producers' corn we grind by improving the local economy through jobs and an improved basis level, the environment through oxygenated gas, and reduction in energy dependence by easing the need for expensive foreign oil," the company says on its website.

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

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Todd Neeley