Wallaces Farmer

Ethanol industry pioneer is honored at BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology.

Rod Swoboda

July 25, 2017

3 Min Read
VISION FOR AG: “We continue seeking new ways to produce biofuels from both starch and cellulose as well as developing additional products and bioprocesses to replace petroleum-based products,” says POET CEO Jeff Broin.

Jeff Broin, CEO of POET, the world’s leading producer of biofuels, received the George Washington Carver Award at a July 24 ceremony at the BIO World Congress in Montreal. The Carver Award recognizes “significant contributions by individuals in the field of industrial biotechnology and its application in biological engineering, environmental science, biorefining and biobased products. 

“I am very humbled by this award. George Washington Carver was an historic leader in finding new potential in agricultural products to meet the world’s needs,” Broin said. “That’s what we strive to do each day at POET, whether it’s producing biofuel from starch and cellulose or finding new or better ways to produce co-products such as distillers grain, corn oil, fiber, liquefied CO2 and more. I believe agriculture is the key to solving many of our world’s challenges.”

Creating new markets for ag products

“Carver was a true visionary," Broin said. "At POET, we follow that vision, developing additional products and bioprocesses to replace petroleum-based products. We believe 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.”

“Jeff Broin is one of the great innovators and entrepreneurs in the industrial biotechnology sector,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section. “He ranks among the most influential leaders in agriculture as well. 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.”

As POET CEO, Broin grew the company from a 1-million-gallon-per-year facility in 1987 into the world's largest biofuels producer, with 1.8 billion gallons of annual fuel production and 10 billion pounds of high-protein animal feed, among other products. 

Success in developing new technology

Broin says POET has always placed a high priority on research, from the laboratories at its headquarters in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to its pilot plant/research facility in Scotland, South Dakota, to its commercial-scale demonstration cellulosic biofuel plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa, as part of POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels. This focus has led to industry-leading technology such as BPX (POET’s proprietary no-cook production process), total water recovery technology, unique corn oil and distillers grains products, cellulosic biofuel development and more.

The George Washington Carver Award is also sponsored by the Iowa Biotechnology Association. Joe Hrdlicka, executive director of the Iowa Biotechnology Association, said, “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.”

Past Carver Award Recipients:

  • Dr. J. Craig Venter, Co-Founder of Synthetic Genomics and Executive Chairman of Human Longevity

  • Jonathan Wolfson, CEO & Co-Founder, Solazyme

  • Ellen Kullman, CEO & Chair of the Board, DuPont

  • Dr. Jay Keasling, Hubbard Howe Jr., Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley 

  • Steen Riisgaard, President and CEO of Novozymes

  • Feike Sijbesma, CEO, DSM

  • Dr. Greg Stephanopoulos,  Professor of Chemical Engineering, MIT

  • Charles O. Holliday, Jr.,  CEO & Chair of the Board, DuPont

  • Patrick Gruber, CEO, Gevo, Inc.

About the Author(s)

Rod Swoboda

Rod Swoboda is a former editor of Wallaces Farmer and is now retired.

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