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POET plant drastically cuts water use


Bingham Lake, Minn., facility now using zero-liquid discharge process

POET Biorefining - Bingham Lake (Minn.) has eliminated water discharge through new technology, making its process for producing ethanol even more efficient.

The Bingham Lake facility already used less water than the industry average. The 35 million-gallons-per-year-plant on average used 3.42 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol. With zero-liquid discharge, that is cut by 23 percent, to an estimated 2.64 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol.

“This process is yet another way POET is working to continue making ethanol production more efficient,” POET CEO Jeff Broin said. “Zero-liquid discharge technology benefits the plant, the community and all the area water users.”

Zero-liquid discharge means no water will be discharged into the environment. Water leaving the plant is limited to steam and the water content present in POET products such as Dakota Gold dried distillers grain.

POET plants on average use 3 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol. Besides the Bingham Lake facility, several other POET plants use creative and innovative ways to cut water use. At POET Biorefining - Corning, Iowa, most of the water used in the cooling process is obtained from the Corning Waste Water Treatment Plant. One hundred percent of the water at POET Biorefining - Portland, Ind. is recycled from a nearby quarry. POET Biorefining - Big Stone, S.D. gets 80 percent of its water from the cooling ponds of an adjacent power plant and discharges it back to the power plant.

Ethanol, like most other industries, uses water in the production process. Plants in Minnesota used about 4 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of ethanol in 2006. That’s a water efficiency improvement of 30 percent since 1998, according to a December study by the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board titled “Managing for Water Sustainability.”

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 2011. For more information, visit


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