Interview with Geoff Broin CEO Poet

The industrious chaps over at earth2tech have secured an email interview with Geff Broin, ceo of Poet industries which recently announced plans to build a cellulosic ethanol plant by the end of the year. He’s a big fan of subsidies, and makes a good point about the economics of processed food. 

What he doesn’t do/wasn’t asked in the interview :

1.  Talk about the larger global picture of corn use in ethanol driving up the price of grains globally, nor

2. Talk about the viability of cellulosic biofuel production that involves stover in terms of soil fertility and structure. I don’t know if he was asked that, but it would be interesting to find out. 

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One Response to Interview with Geoff Broin CEO Poet

  1. Nathan Schock 26 September, 2008 at 5:21 pm #

    Thanks for the questions. I also answered them over at earth2tech.

    On your first point, the Corn Flakes box is not meant to be all-encompassing but rather a proxy for what other factors go into food costs. Even for the largest U.S. food aid program, 65% of their costs are not food related, but rather transportation, handling costs and administration.

    The good thing about increasing grain prices is that they are above the world cost of production for the first time in several decades. That means that many of these countries who have been importing cheap grain have the opportunity to grow their domestic agricultural industry. Long term that will increase their food security and put a ceiling on global commodity prices.

    On your second question, we’ve been working with numerous universities and other researchers to study the agronomic value of cobs and found that their nutrient value is much less than their weight. In fact, many farmers say that they are a nuisance because they take nitrogen and a lot of time to break down. Other studies have shown that you can remove up to 50% of the stover without impacting soil quality (depending on where you are).

    I’d be happy to chat with you in greater depth if you’re interested. Just send me an email.

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