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Landfill gas power system earns EPA award


POET/Sioux Falls partnership provides green energy and revenue to city

The Environmental Protection Agency has honored the city of Sioux Falls and POET for a landfill gas project that offsets significant energy for process steam at POET Biorefining - Chancellor.

In a ceremony Tuesday, the EPA recognized eight projects that “employed unique project structures and took creative approaches to utilize (landfill gas) from municipal solid waste landfills.” The award ceremony was conducted at the 13th Annual Landfill Methane Outreach Program Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

The city’s 11-mile pipeline, completed in February 2009, transports methane from waste at the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill to the Chancellor plant. That methane, in conjunction with a waste wood boiler, produces process steam for ethanol production. The methane currently offsets 15 percent of the plant’s energy needs, and as the supply of landfill gas increases, that is expected to double by 2025. When combined with waste wood, the plant will one day be powered completely by renewable energy.

“As this award signifies, POET wants to do more than produce renewable fuels,” POET Chief Operating Officer James Moe said at the conference. “We want to use renewable energy to power our production process as well.”

POET pays the city for the methane, providing a revenue source from gas that had previously been flared at the landfill.

“This has been an excellent partnership that continues to grow,” Sioux Falls Mayor Dave Munson said. “We’re honored by this national recognition, and we’re committed to doing even more to take advantage of the opportunities presented by our landfill gas project.”

Methane has more than 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Instead of allowing the gas to escape into the air, it can be captured, converted, and used as an energy source through projects such as this. Using landfill gas reduces odors and other hazards associated with emissions, while preventing methane from migrating into the atmosphere and contributing to local air pollution and global climate change.

In his speech, Moe noted other methods in which POET seeks to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. For example, three POET plants use cogeneration and another uses an anaerobic digester for power.

About POET
POET, the largest ethanol producer in the world, is a leader in biorefining through its efficient, vertically integrated approach to production. The 20-year-old company produces more than 1.54 billion gallons of ethanol annually from 26 production facilities nationwide. POET recently started up a pilot-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, which uses corn cobs as feedstock, and will commercialize the process in Emmetsburg, Iowa. For more information, visit


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