Methane generated from Sioux Falls regional landfill to provide energy for ethanol plant


Source: POET, LLC

An agreement between POET and the City of Sioux Falls will allow methane generated from the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill to provide energy for an ethanol production facility near Chancellor. Replacing a portion of the natural gas at POET Biorefining-Chancellor’s with methane from the landfill will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and operating costs for the ethanol plant while generating revenue for the landfill.

Under the agreement, the methane will initially displace 10 percent of the ethanol plant’s natural gas usage, increasing to 30 percent in 2025 as additional methane is generated. The methane, which is generated when municipal solid waste decomposes, will be transported by a 10 mile low-pressure pipeline. Construction is expected to be completed in Q2 2009. Displacement of natural gas will decrease CO2 emissions at the plant by 26,445 tons in 2010, the first full year that the system is operational.

POET CEO Jeff Broin said, 'At POET, we have a group of talented people who are dedicated to advancing the efficiency and sustainability of ethanol production. We’ve made significant gains over our 20 years in business and this partnership will allow us to take another step forward in efficiency and sustainability.'

At the announcement, Mayor Dave Munson said, 'This is truly a win-win for the City of Sioux Falls, POET, our community and customers of the landfill,' Munson said. 'The City feels fortunate to be able to make a significant impact on the environment and improve revenue at the Landfill at the same time.'

POET Biorefining-Chancellor started operations in March, 2003. Last year, the facility produced 51 million gallons of ethanol and 160,000 tons of Dakota Gold Enhanced Distillers Nutrition products. An expansion of the Chancellor facility to 100 million gallons per year was completed last month. Construction continues at the plant on a solid waste fuel boiler, which will burn waste wood to produce more than half of the expanded plant’s power needs. In combination with energy from the recycled methane, the plant will initially replace at least 70 percent of its natural gas usage, increasing to at least 90 percent in 2025.

POET and the City of Sioux Falls also joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP). The goal of LMOP is to reduce methane emissions from landfills by encouraging the development of cost-effective and environmentally sound landfill gas projects.

POET, the largest ethanol producer in the world according to the Renewable Fuels Association, is an established leader in the biorefining industry through project development, design and construction, research and development, plant management, and marketing. The 20-year old company currently operates 22 production facilities in the United States with five more in construction or under development. The company produces and markets more than 1.25 billion gallons of ethanol annually.

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