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

POET’s commitment to the future of low-carbon, plantbased 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 those initiatives 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.

Among the suite of POET’s sustainable technology is a newer initiative as well: solar energy. POET recently constructed its first solar farm located at the company’s corporate headquarters in Sioux Falls. The solarfarm has a two-fold purpose: first to generate solar power and reduce the carbon intensity of POET’s corporate headquarters and also to showcase POET’s expertise in producing a state-of-the-art solar field.

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

While office buildings benefit from solar energy because team members are only inside during the daytime, solar energy is also a good fit for POET’s bioprocessing facilities. A solar farm for a plant would have considerable carbon intensity reduction.

Along with solar energy, POET will explore every option available to decarbonize the supply chain and production process. Some potential pathways towards further decarbonization include operational efficiency improvements, energy inputs including increased use of renewable energy such as wind, biomass and biogas, carbon capture and sequestration, improved agricultural techniques and updated methodology.

"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"

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.

However, POET has never shied away from a challenge. As POET looks toward what is next — and at how we want to leave the world for future generations — the company has stated that there is always room to think bigger. POET announced it intends to go all-in on this 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.