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BIO Congratulates POET Founder Jeff Broin on 2017 George Washington Carver Award

May 25, 2017
BIO today awarded POET Founder, Chairman and CEO Jeff Broin the 10th annual George Washington Carver Award for Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology. Broin will accept the award and deliver remarks during a morning plenary session of the 2017 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology on Monday July 24, 2017.

Broin was honored to receive the award, saying, "George Washington Carver was a true visionary, recognizing the enormous potential of agriculture to meet all of our world’s needs. At POET we follow that vision, seeking new ways to produce biofuels from both starch and cellulose as well as developing additional products and bioprocesses to replace petroleum-based products. We believe that the agricultural potential of the world is virtually untapped. The world is beginning to learn that we need to return to the sun, the soil and the seed."

Broin has led the growth of POET over 30 years, starting with a small 1-million-gallon facility. POET currently has a network of 28 biorefineries in 7 states with 1,800 team members, which annually generates revenues of about $6.5 billion and produces 1.8 billion gallons of ethanol, 10 billion pounds of distiller’s grain and 600 million pounds of corn oil. Each biorefinery contributes an average of $200 million annually to its local community, and POET purchases over 600 million bushels of grain each year from more than 20,000 farmers. POET has achieved 800 percent growth since 2000.

POET’s contributions to the industrial biotechnology sector include the patented BPX process, which uses enzymes to reduce heat in the ethanol production process and drastically lowers the plant’s energy needs. POET worked with biotech partners to incorporate additional enzyme developments that enable greater process efficiencies. POET also has been a pioneer in cellulosic ethanol. POET researched for years in its labs and at a pilot-scale facility to develop a process that uses corn stover to produce ethanol. POET-DSM, a joint venture with the Dutch life and biosciences company Royal DSM, built their first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant and opened it in 2014.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, noted these contributions in giving the Carver Award to Broin. "Jeff Broin is one of the great innovators and entrepreneurs in the industrial biotechnology sector. He ranks among the most influential leaders in agriculture as well," Erickson said. "Biofuels have created new markets for agricultural products and rejuvenated rural America. Jeff Broin has positioned POET at the forefront of developing cellulosic ethanol and improving the economics of biofuel production."

Joe Hrdlicka, executive director of the Iowa Biotechnology Association, also congratulated Broin on receiving the award, saying, “Jeff Broin has created an environment at POET where new ideas thrive throughout the value chain of new economic opportunities for American agricultural producers and rural communities. His business model truly reflects the ideas and passion spawned by George Washington Carver a century ago." The George Washington Carver Award is sponsored by the Iowa Biotechnology Association.