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POET Biorefining To Update Alexandria Facility To Produce Purified Alcohol For Hand Sanitizer

By Samantha Horton, IPB News | Published on in Business, Economy, Local News
Officials break ground at POET Biorefining's Alexandria facility. The upgrades at the Indiana location will allow the company to produce ethanol that's FDA approved for hand sanitizer. (Courtesy of POET)
Officials break ground at POET Biorefining's Alexandria facility. The upgrades at the Indiana location will allow the company to produce ethanol that's FDA approved for hand sanitizer. (Courtesy of POET)

A biofuels company is permanently expanding production at one of its Indiana facilities to include ethanol for hand sanitizer. POET Biorefining’s $25 million investment helps the company expand its portfolio and have more stability in an industry that has taken a hit due to the pandemic.

Stay-At-Home orders this spring created a drop in demand for the fuel-grade ethanol industry. In response, refineries across the country temporarily halted or reduced production.

At the same time, POET saw an opportunity. The company started manufacturing FDA-approved ethanol to meet the growing demand for hand sanitizer.

Matt Braun, POET senior vice president and general manager, said the permanent investment will expand production at the Alexandria location to produce fuel and purified alcohol.

“It supports area corn demand and economics for Indiana farms and enhances the value of Indiana corn and farmland in that process,” said Braun.

The company is updating two of its facilities, including the one here in Indiana and the other in Ohio, to make purified alcohol.

Braun said he believes there is a long-term market demand for plant-based ethanol for hand sanitizer.

“This new product is going to grow the availability of cleaner, greener purified alcohol options available to consumers,” he said. “That’s very important to us. We’re committed to providing plant-based homegrown products to displace petroleum-based products in order to fight climate change and provide a growing market for surplus grain.”

The Alexandria facility updates are expected to be complete by early 2021 and will produce between 30 million to 35 million gallons of purified alcohol annually.

Contact reporter Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.