Developments in cellulosic ethanol technology are creating opportunities for American ethanol producers.
Miloud Araba, head of Enogen® technical services at Syngenta, says cellulosic innovation could enable dry grind ethanol producers to meet the increasing Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirements for cellulosic biofuels, which are up 35 percent for 2017.
“Approximately 10 percent of the corn kernel dry weight is fiber, and converting corn kernel fiber feedstock to cellulosic ethanol has been possible for some time,” Araba said. “However, recent advances in technologies can enable commercial deployment today. In fact, the approximately 12 million tons of corn kernel fiber feedstock already available at U.S. dry grind ethanol plants each year could produce a potential 1.5 billion gallons of additional, cellulosic ethanol.”
Araba added that the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) offers further opportunities for corn kernel fiber. “Low carbon intensity fuel that puts out fewer emissions will be increasingly needed in California to meet the goals of the LCFS program and the demand for LCFS credits,” he said. “Looking ahead, cellulosic ethanol from corn kernel fiber will be in demand because long-term objectives of the LCFS cannot be met with D6 ethanol at 10 percent.”
Araba discussed the potential during the recent National Ethanol Conference.