Putting every husk and cob to use.
South Dakota-based Poet makes the most of an ear of corn. The world’s leading producer of biofuels turns the crop into ethanol at its 28 facilities, but it has also engineered uses for the process’ by-products—including a more dense, nutrient-rich animal feed (livestock typically consumes more than one third of the nation’s corn supply) and Jive, an academically-vetted asphalt “rejuvenator,” that makes roads, from Canada to California to New Jersey, less temperature-sensitive and more durable. With past CTW honoree DSM, a Netherlands-based life sciences company, Poet has also pioneered ethanol production using previously discarded cobs, husks, and leaves. Ethanol evokes criticism in some quarters because it essentially uses food for fuel. In response, Poet points to its efficiencies, and the nation’s corn glut; at a time of fast-rising agricultural debt and farm bankruptcies, Poet offers farmers another source of income.
Sioux Falls, S.D.
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