In June of 2021, POET doubled down on the company’s vision for a future based on the bioeconomy by acquiring another producer of biofuels and growing the company by 40 percent. This action represented the largest acquisition in biofuel history and signaled to the rest of the world that POET stands ready to provide the biofuels and bioproducts needed to help meet the most pressing challenges of today, most notably climate change.

POET’s commitment to the future of low-carbon, plant-based renewable biofuel is now immortalized in the company’s first sustainability report. The report outlines POET’s focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives for the next 30 years. Among the many ESG goals, POET pledged to ensure that its renewable, plant-based bioethanol reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 70 percent compared to gasoline by 2030. According to a recent study, today’s bioethanol reduces carbon emissions by 46 percent compared to gasoline. Perhaps most notably, POET also plans to achieve net-zero carbon at its bioprocessing facilities by 2050.

POET’s enduring vision to create a world in sync with nature began over 30 years ago. For more than three decades, the company has been a powerhouse in driving the development of biofuels and bioproducts, always maintaining a tradition of innovation and environmental stewardship along the way. As part of those efforts, POET has developed a number of sustainable technologies that are already in use.

Two of the technologies currently in place include combined heat and power and waste-to-energy technology. Combined heat and power is implemented at nearly half of POET’s bioprocessing facilities. It utilizes energy-efficient, steam-powered turbines that generate electrical energy from process steam to operate a plant. Each generator produces an average of three megawatts of electricity per facility, totaling 50 megawatts per year — enough to power 2,000 homes for a combined total of about 40,000 homes across the POET network.

POET’s bioprocessing facility in Chancellor, SD, is a prime example of waste-to-energy technology. The facility is powered using steam generated from biomass combustion and methane that is pipelined from the landfill near Sioux Falls, SD, which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.

POET’s suite of sustainable technology now includes solar energy as well. The company recently constructed its first solar farm at the company’s corporate headquarters in Sioux Falls. The solar farm has a dual purpose: to generate solar power and reduce the carbon intensity of POET’s corporate headquarters as well as to showcase POET’s ability to produce state-of-the-art solar fields for others.

The solar farm generates around two-thirds of the electricity used by POET’s headquarters. It produces 745,000 kWh of electricity offsets 630,000 pounds of CO2 each year. Any excess power generated by the farm goes back to the Sioux Falls grid to supply local homes and buildings with renewable power.

Along with solar energy, POET is exploring every option available to decarbonize the bioethanol production process. Some potential pathways include operational efficiency improvements, renewable energy inputs such as wind, biomass and biogas, carbon capture and sequestration, improved agricultural techniques and updated methodology. It is important to note that many of the carbon reduction pathways POET is considering will require state and federal policy support and significant capital investment.

Decarbonization is no simple goal; however, POET has never shied away from a challenge. As POET looks toward what is next — and at what kind of world will be left behind for future generations — the company believes there is always room to think bigger. POET intends to go all-in on its drive to decarbonization, charting a path toward carbon neutrality while bringing value to rural America, engaging team members, and strengthening the company’s internal commitment to sustainability.