2 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol, no extra feedstock, no plant, no emissions, no kidding

April 27, 2016 |

BD-TS-042816-Cellrate-smIn Iowa, Quad County Corn Processors increased ethanol production by 20 percent in an 18-day trial using a combination of Cellerate process technology and Enogen corn. The results were vetted via third-party verification procedures performed by Christianson & Associates.

“With Cellerate, the biofuels industry now has the technology available to create 2 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol – all from the same kernel of corn,” said  QCCP CEO Delayne Johnson.

To date, QCCP has produced over 3 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol via the Cellerate process.

The tale of the tape

The increase was achieved by realizing an additional 6 percent yield per bushel from converting corn kernel fiber into ethanol, plus a 14 percent throughput increase by combining Cellerate with Enogen. Developed at QCCP in Galva, Iowa, Cellerate is a collaboration between Syngenta and Cellulosic Ethanol Technologies, a subsidiary of QCCP. In 2014, Syngenta announced an agreement with CET to be the exclusive marketer of the Cellerate process technology to ethanol plants in North America.

Improving corn oil yields and protein content

“Cellerate can help ethanol producers improve the protein content of dried distillers grains to as much as 40 percent (DM) and boost total yield of distillers corn oil up to a potential 1.6 pounds per bushel (QCCP is currently achieving 1.1 pounds per bushel),” said Jack Bernens, head of Enogen at Syngenta. “We believe that not only will Cellerate process technology help make advanced and cellulosic ethanol a reality, but the combination of Cellerate and Enogen could represent the next step forward for ethanol production.”

US pathway secured; California next

CET and Syngenta successfully secured an approved D3 pathway for Cellerate. Now, they are working to submit a pathway for the cellulosic ethanol produced at QCCP with the California Air Resources Board. The Cellerate process has the potential for a notable reduction in QCCP’s carbon intensity score – which in turn is expected to provide QCCP the ability to earn a significant premium for each cellulosic gallon marketed in California.

Reaction from the principals

“Without changes to the conventional starch ethanol process, Cellerate offers advantages to ethanol plants including pre-treatment in the fiber that allows whole stillage processing without the requirement to separate all the fiber and starch,” Johnson said. “Pre-treatment breaks down fiber, allowing mild whole stillage fiber treatment with pH low enough to prevent starch degradation. This reduces the time, chemicals and energy required. It also allows a plant to load significantly more solids and capture residual starch, sugars and cellulosic component in a second fermentation process.

There’s more on Cellerate process technology, here.

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