New ethanol plant opens in NW Ohio

Reported by Dick Berry email
Posted by Kate Oatis email

FOSTORIA - Another ethanol plant opened for business on Tuesday, taking NW Ohio one step further in the effort to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.

And that's good news for corn growers.

The Poet Factory in Fostoria will produce 65 million gallons of ethanol fuel per year from 22 million bushels of locally grown corn. The factory itself creates 40 jobs with an annual payroll of 2 million jobs.

"If you look out 20 years, it's going to replace all of the gasoline demand in the U.S. today," said Jeff Broin, CEO.

Broin says his South Dakota-based company is the largest ethanol producer in the world. There are 23 Poet plants like this across the country. And Poet will now produce a 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol annually.

"Actually, it's in 70 percent of most of the gas in the country and everywhere that's accessible to the market. It may not be labeled at the pump," Broin said.

The benefit to farmers is that ethanol gives them a new market for corn and that translates to higher prices. Local leaders say it's great for the area economy.

"Hopefully, everyone got on board early because this was done real early when they started contracting for the local growers and it's good for the local area," said Dave Sauber, Seneca County commissioner.

But no matter where an ethanol plant opens, the goal is always the same.

"I think it's a huge step in reducing the amount of oil coming in by making us less dependent on foreign oil," said Mike Wagner, with Buckeye Renewable Fuels Assn.

According to Poet officials, the gap is closing on the oil import market. They claim more ethanol will be produced by the end of the year than is imported from Saudi Arabia.