Green Plains plans massive expansion of Syngenta’s Enogen corn ethanol technology

December 17, 2017 |

Good news arrives from Minnesota that Syngenta has partnered with Green Plains to expand its use of Enogen corn enzyme technology across GPRE’s 1.5 billion gallon production platform.

The Enogen backstory

Enogen corn enzyme technology is an in-seed innovation available exclusively from Syngenta and features the first biotech corn output trait designed specifically to enhance ethanol production. Using modern biotechnology to deliver best-in-class alpha amylase enzyme directly in the grain, Enogen corn eliminates the need to add liquid alpha amylase and creates a win-win-win scenario by adding value for ethanol plants, corn growers and rural communities.

We reported in January that Syngenta had reached agreements with ethanol plants, from Arizona to Ohio, with a combined total capacity of nearly 2 billion gallons.

Looking ahead, Ron Wulfkuhle, head of Enogen at Syngenta added that the combination of Cellerate process technology and Enogen corn will help ethanol plants increase efficiency even further. Cellerate converts corn kernel fiber into cellulosic ethanol and can help plants produce more ethanol from the same kernel of corn, increase total yield of distillers corn oil and improve the protein content of feed co-products.

We reported in August 2016 that trials at Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) demonstrated as much as a 26 percent increase in in production when Cellerate process technology and the use of Enogen corn were combined.

What does Enogen do?

The alpha amylase enzyme found in Enogen grain helps an ethanol plant significantly reduce the viscosity of its corn mash and eliminates the need to add a liquid form of the enzyme. This breakthrough reduction can lead to unprecedented levels of solids loading, which directly contributes to increased throughput and yield, as well as critical cost savings from reduced natural gas, electricity and water usage. Here’s a visual demo of that.

The Green Plains rationale

According to Green Plains President and CEO Todd Becker, the opportunity to enhance production and invest locally are key benefits of using Enogen corn.

“We have been using Enogen corn at a number of our locations for the past several years and have noted significant benefits, including enhanced yield and reduced energy costs,” Becker said. “Combining our focus to buy more corn directly from farmers and purchasing alpha amylase locally, in the form of high-quality grain for all of our plants, we believe Enogen will create value for our shareholders, growers and the communities where we do business.”

Green Plains is a corn monster, purchasing more than 500 million bushels each year. Using Enogen corn as a portion of the feedstock enables alpha amylase to be delivered directly in the grain, eliminating the need to add a liquid form of the enzyme and significantly reducing the viscosity of the corn mash.

The Grower Rationale

Farmers who grow Enogen corn are eligible to earn an additional premium per Enogen bushel. And, numerous trials have shown that Enogen hybrids perform equal to or better than other high-performing corn hybrids.

Reaction from the stakeholders

“Enogen is rapidly gaining popularity because of the value it delivers to ethanol producers and the opportunity it provides corn growers to be enzyme suppliers for their local ethanol plants,” said Jeff Oestmann, head, Bio-fuels Operations – Enogen at Syngenta. “Enogen corn enzyme technology creates increased profit potential for ethanol producers and corn growers while adding significant incremental value at the local level for communities that rely on their ethanol plant’s success.

“Syngenta is committed to the success of the U.S. ethanol industry and to helping ethanol plants adopt the best enzyme strategy. We are proud to have made a significant investment to bring this game-changing technology to market to help make ethanol more sustainable and to help plants differentiate their offerings and support their local communities by keeping enzyme dollars local,” Oestmann added.

 

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