Last week Iowa Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) took some time to learn more about ethanol production and the benefits of the biofuel when she visited Quad County Corn Processors along with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. On hand for the tour included reps from Syngenta, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and the Iowa Corn Growers Association. One of Quad County’s claim to fame is their Cellerate technology – developed by members of the plant itself – that produces cellulosic ethanol from the corn kernel. The biorefinery was the first in the country to do so.
While onsite, the groups discussed the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the need for high compression engines to be manufactured by the autos and the need for a Reid Vapor Pressure Waiver for E15 that would allow the fuel to be sold year-round to conventional vehicles model year 2001 or newer.
According to Branstad, renewable fuels are key to the state’s economic development, as well as the country’s energy independence. “Renewable fuel is something I’m very passionate about. Renewable fuels are important for Iowa and they are important for America. A robust renewable fuel standard (RFS) will continue to diversify our nation’s transportation fuels, add value to commodities grown in rural America, reduce emissions, and provide consumers low-cost choices at the pump.”
Ernst noted that Iowa leads the nation in ethanol production, producing enough E85 each year to drive a pickup truck around the Earth’s equator 2.4 million times. “The RFS ensures our national fuel supply provides increased consumer choice, decreases dependence on foreign oil, improves the environment, and creates jobs for those in Iowa—and across the country.”
Quad County’s CEO Delayne Johnson said he hopes that other ethanol plants add the Cellerate technology, marketed by Syngenta along with the Enogen corn enzyme technology. He noted, “Adding corn fiber-to-cellulosic ethanol technology at every existing dry mill ethanol plant across the U.S. would have a significant effect on greenhouse gas reductions. The potential reduction would be equivalent to removing as many as 2.98 million passenger cars from the road, or 4.1 average coal-fired plants, or the amount of carbon sequestered by as many as 13.3 million acres of forest.”
Jack Bernens, head of Enogen at Syngenta, agreed with Johnson and added, “Ethanol is helping America reduce its dependence on foreign oil, improve the environment, lower prices at the pump and grow the economy with jobs that can’t be outsourced. QCCP helped kick off a new era for the biofuels industry when it opened its commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facility. By helping to squeeze more ethanol from the same kernel of corn, Cellerate technology enhanced by Enogen corn can help make ethanol even more sustainable.”
To date, Quad County Corn Processors has produced 5 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol, which represents 90 percent of total U.S. cellulosic ethanol production (D3 RINs) in the last three years.