South Dakota, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] 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 initiative, 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.
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 in Minnesota, Michigan and South Dakota – Bingham Lake, Caro and Hudson. 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 US $420,000 to the non-profit Global Health Ministries (GHM) over the same five-year period as the company’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.
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.