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POET alleviates local hand sanitizer shortage in South Dakota

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States (US), researchers, and production staff at POET LLC, the world's largest corn ethanol producer, have developed an all-natural ethanol-based sanitizer to tackle the severe local shortage in South Dakota (SD). Donations will be shared with frontline workers across the state.

Located in Chancellor, South Dakota (SD), in the heart of prime corn-growing country, POET Biorefining Chancellor produces 110 million (US) gallons (≈ 416.4 million litres) of ethanol annually. The plant has been enhanced to be able to produce hand sanitizer to address local shortages in the state on account of COVID-19 (photo courtesy POET).

To help meet the local need, POET is donating 220 (US) gallons (≈ 833 litres) of sanitizer, produced at its Chancellor Biorefinery in South Dakota (SD), to the City of Sioux Falls and 780 16 oz. bottles to the South Dakota Health Care Coalition.

These groups will then distribute to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, firefighters, emergency services (EMS), and other frontline workers. POET is also donating sanitizer to Pioneer Hospital, which provides health services to many of the POET team members who work at the Chancellor facility.

A great strength of the American economy is its ability to adapt. I am grateful POET has shifted production to much-needed hand sanitizer for first responders, including Sioux Falls police, fire rescue, and EMS personnel. Sioux Falls is fortunate to have a great community partner and corporate citizen like POET headquartered here, said Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken.

Refit Chancellor plant

As COVID-19 began spreading rapidly across the state, POET embraced its culture of innovation and found a way to use its existing resources and expertise to protect frontline workers. POET’s strengths in engineering and operations positioned it to quickly enhance the existing capabilities at its Chancellor facility to create the bio-based sanitizer product that will alleviate a need of the community.

Frontline workers are facing risks every day to keep our communities safe from COVID-19, and we all need to do our part. At POET, we saw an opportunity to help our community while living our mission – to be good stewards of the Earth by converting renewable resources to valuable goods – and created an all-natural ethanol-based sanitizer product. Bio-based products, like the sanitizer we’re donating today, are a safe, affordable solution for our community’s everyday needs from fuel for our cars to sanitizer for our families, said POET Founder and CEO Jeff Broin.

POET partnered with local companies, including Senproco Inc. to bottle the sanitizer and Cimarron to provide the labels.

Senproco Inc. was proud to provide bottling services to ensure this critical product was available and accessible to those who need it the most during this challenging time, said Dan Dressen, Owner, Senproco Inc.

The additional supply of sanitizer comes at a critical time as cases are increasing across the state.

This is another reminder of the great partnerships that we have in South Dakota. POET saw a need and became innovative to protect health care workers, EMS, fire, law, and critical infrastructure personnel. This donation will also protect many of the community’s most vulnerable citizens who reside in long-term care centers within Lincoln, Minnehaha and McCook counties, said Lynn DeYoung, Executive Director, South Dakota Health Care Coalition.

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