Thursday, April 10, 2008

Methane replacing natural gas

Poet of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and a major corn ethanol producer here in Iowa, is laying the plans to implement a new technology aimed at cost reduction and sustainability. The company plans to build 10 miles of pipelines from Sioux Falls' landfill all the way to Poet's ethanol facility outside of the city. There the company will be able to use methane, (a major greenhouse gas), instead of natural gas in the process of making ethanol. With recent volatility and high prices in natural gas, Poet has resisted going the route of using coal to power their plant, which could lead to higher emissions. Instead, they will end up paying the city of Sioux Falls (a total which could reach over $1 million a year), in order to offset 10% of their natural gas using methane in the first phase and 30% offset by 2025. This will inevitably save Poet money and could reduce carbon dioxide emissions at the plant by 26,400 tons per year. This in turn would make ethanol's GHG reducing ability that much greater and make the process more appealing and sustainable. It is good to see a company like Poet, who has been a proven leader in ethanol technology innovations, coming forward with this bold but well thought out plan.

Here's a look at Poet's ethanol plant:


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