Cellerate + Enogen = More Ethanol Production

According to Syngenta, the combination of Cellerate process technology with Enogen can increase ethanol production by 20 percent. The 18 day trial was conducted at the Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) plant. Since going online, the ethanol plant has produced more than 3 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol via the Cellerate process. The resulting ethanol is sold as a D3 Rin under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the pathway will be submitted to the California Air Resources Board for approval.

Enogen logoQCCP CEO Delayne Johnson says this dramatic 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 (CET), LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of QCCP.

“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.”

Johnson continued, “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.”

“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),” added 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.”

USDA Reports Positive for #Corn Supplies

USDAThe 2016 Prospective Plantings report out today from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) shows farmers expect to plant more corn than expected this year.

U.S. corn growers expect to plant 93.6 million acres to corn this year, the first increase in corn planted acreage since 2012 and, if realized, will be the third largest corn acreage since 1944. Farmers in 41 out of the 48 states expect to either maintain or increase the number of acres they plant to corn. Growers in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and North Dakota expect to increase their corn acreage by 400,000 or more acres in 2016. Assuming the five-year average 91.3 percent harvest rate and the projected 25-year trend yield of 165.4 bushels per acre is achieved, farmers will harvest 14.13 billion bushels, nearing the production record of 14.2 billion bushels set in 2014, according to the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).

In addition, the new grain stocks report increases corn stocks in all positions as of March 1 by one percent compared to this time last year. Stocks totaled 7.81 billion bushels and of the that, 4.34 billion bushels were stored on farms, down 1 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 3.47 billion bushels, are up 3 percent from a year ago.

“U.S. farmers produced an abundant crop in 2015. Given the strong carryover entering this growing season, we may see quite a large corn supply at harvest should weather prove favorable in 2016,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “While many factors may change the reality on the ground as planting progresses, American corn supplies should remain ample for the year to come. Given the impact this continues to have on prices, the work being done at NCGA to grow demand will prove even more important as we work to find markets for our product and remain profitable into the future.”

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen says the planting intentions show that American farmers are continuing to hold up their end of the deal when it comes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “They’ve made the investments and planting decisions necessary to provide adequate supplies of grain to meet all demands, including the feedstock needed to produce the 15 billion gallons of ethanol required in 2016 under the RFS statute,” commented Dinneen. “But by slashing the RFS requirements for 2016 below statutory levels, the Administration isn’t honoring its commitment to our nation’s farmers and is contributing to great economic uncertainty in the agriculture sector.”

Dinneen adds that the report underscores the importance of getting the RFS back on track and growing corn demand.

US and Nigerian #Corn Growers Talk #Ethanol

NCGA's Paul Bertels and Nigerian Corn Growers Association's Edwin Uche in front of the NCGA office.

NCGA’s Paul Bertels and Nigerian Corn Growers Association’s Edwin Uche in front of the NCGA office.

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) staffers welcomed the director of the Nigerian Corn Growers Association for a series of meetings this week on how farmers in the two nations can work together to increase corn demand.

Edwin Uche, director of the Nigerian Corn Growers Association, reached out for a meeting during the recent Maize Genetics Conference in Florida and expressed his excitement for NCGA’s work and enthusiasm for doing similar for farmers in Nigeria. During his visit to the NCGA office, Uche met with Vice President of Production and Stewardship Paul Bertels, Director of Communications Ken Colombini and Director of Development Joe Hodes.

Through a series of in-depth discussions, Uche explored ways in which he could increase corn demand in Nigeria while fostering acceptance of biotechnology and growing the country’s ethanol industry. A proponent of biotechnology in agriculture, Uche also hopes to move more farmers toward this productive technology and away from an ongoing reliance upon open pollinated varieties currently hampering yield in Nigeria.

Discussions yielded insights for NCGA as well. Uche shared his confusion as to how the idea of food versus fuel took hold in the United States, expressing that he sees how corn clearly provides an excellent way to meet both demands simultaneously. Additionally, his pro-biotechnology and pro-ethanol stances fostered hope for potential market growth in Nigeria which could lead to growth in American corn exports to the region.

#FlexMyChoice Massages at #Classic16

classic16-rfaVisitors to the 2016 Commodity Classic had the opportunity to voice their support for Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) and relax their aching muscles at the same time at the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) booth.

It was the first opportunity for RFA to get their recently launched “Flex My Choice” campaign in front of the agriculture industry and Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White says many of the people they spoke to at Classic had no idea that auto makers were cutting their production of FFVs. “It doesn’t matter what part of agriculture you’re coming from, the phasing out or elimination of flex fuel vehicles will be devastating to the advancement and growth of our industry,” said White.

Beginning this year, the fuel economy credits given to auto makers for building flex fuel vehicles were phased out. “Ironically, now we have incentives for natural gas vehicles, so we’re encouraging fossil fuel usage over an alternative like E85,” White said.

Classic attendees who visited the RFA booth were able to fill out post cards to be sent to the main three automobile manufacturers, as well as EPA. While doing that, they were also able to get a nice chair massage, which was welcome relief for many who spent the day walking through the huge trade show catering to corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum farmers.

Listen to Robert explain more about Flex My Choice in this interview: Interview with Robert White, RFA, at Commodity Classic

2016 Commodity Classic Photo Album

NCGA Identifies Ethanol as Driver for Demand

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) held a press conference this week during 2016 Commodity Classic to discuss several key issues facing the corn industry and highlight the efforts currently in place to create solutions to the challenges that have been facing growers.

NCGA president Chip BowlingNCGA Present Chip Bowling, a corn grower from Newburg, Maryland, said that the most important action the organization is taking on behalf of its members is creating more demand for corn products. Ethanol, said Bowling, is an important element to increasing demand.

“Ethanol is the most important driver for future growth of corn demand,” said Bowling during his remarks. “We’re investing in fuel pump infrastructure that will give customers more access to higher ethanol blends. USDA has provided $100 million in matching grants to help us with this effort. We’re also pushing for changes that would give every American year round access to E15. At the same time we’re protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which provides renewable, clean energy and increases our nation’s energy independence.”

Bowling noted that in January, NCGA banded with other organizations in court to challenge the EPA’s renewable volume obligations (RVS) under the RFS, which are under statutory levels. “We’re pushing for our case to be heard before EPA announces 2017 RVO numbers that are supposedly coming out at the end of March.”

Listen to the full press conference here:
NCGA Press Conference at Commodity Classic

2016 Commodity Classic Photo Album

Mid American Agri Products Adds Cellunator

Mid American Agri Products/Wheatland (MAAPW) has gone online with Cellunator from Edeniq at its ethanol and biodiesel facility located in North Platte, Nebraska. According to Edeniq, the technology will increase the plant’s 44 million gallons per year (MGPY) of ethanol production by pretreating the corn slurry to liberate additional starch. The MAAPW facility also produces three MGPY of biodiesel. The resulting cellulosic ethanol gallons will quality for D3 RINS under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Edeniq-Logo“We selected Edeniq’s Cellunator technology because of its proven track record at accessing residual starch and its ability to also pretreat corn kernel fiber to enable production of cellulosic ethanol at our plant,” said Robert Lundeen, CEO of MAAPW.

In addition to installing Cellunators, MAAPW has an option to license the Pathway Technology. Edeniq’s Pathway Technology integrates Edeniq’s Cellunator equipment with cellulase enzymes to convert corn kernel fiber to cellulosic ethanol. The company says its Pathway Technology utilizes existing fermentation and distillation equipment to produce up to 2.5 percent cellulosic ethanol and a 7 percent increase in overall ethanol yield.

“We are excited that Mid American Agri Products/Wheatland has partnered with us to increase their ethanol yield,” said Brian Thome, President and CEO of Edeniq. “We look forward to continuing to work hand in hand with their team to maximize their return on investment with our technology.”

US Grains Releases New Portal, App

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) has released a grains conversion calculator app and a U.S. grains-in-all-forms exports portal to help members of the global grain trade access critical information more easily. The U.S. grains-in-all-forms exports portal is an online calculator that converts volumes of exported U.S. commodities including ethanol and dried distillers grains (DDGs) into corn equivalents. This offers a different and holistic view of the amount of feed grains produced by U.S. farmers that are consumed by overseas customers.

screen568x568“We are excited to expand our digital presence to include these products that will be helpful for both domestic and international stakeholders,” said USGC Chairman Alan Tiemann, who farms in Nebraska. “The grains conversion app and the grains-in-all-forms portal are cutting-edge resources that contain information, trends and statistics that will help the global grain trade work and grow.”

The Council’s grains conversion app converts English units to metric units and vice versa for grains and related measures. The app is available to download for free in the appropriate app stores for Apple, Android and Windows platforms. It also includes an option to switch between multiple languages including English, Arabic, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, French and Korean.

$3.50 May Be New ‘Corn Norm’

Central_Wisconsin_Ag_Services_LogoThe impact of corn prices varies between producers in different divisions of agriculture, with some producers benefiting from higher prices, and some benefiting from lower prices. Many factors seem to demonstrate that the new long-term “normal” for corn prices may be $3.50 per bushel, and Cody Heller, CEO of Central Wisconsin Ag Services (CWAS), has offered his insight into the cause of the record prices seen in 2012 and why it will be difficult for the markets to sustain prices that high over the next five to ten years.

It was increased demand for corn both for ethanol and exports, combined with a severe drought, that drove prices up in 2012. According to Heller’s report, past high prices and several good yields have led to global stocks of corn, soybeans, and wheat reaching record highs. The changing market for ethanol, however, may seriously impact the resulting demand for those record high supplies. According to USDA, we will not see an increased demand for US corn for ethanol higher than 0-1% from 2016 to 2025. On the global side, China is in a well-documented recession, and the country is forecast to import its lowest level of corn since 2009.

Heller says in order for corn prices to move higher, something would have to happen on the supply side. “This will come from a drought, governmental controls, or a stark increase in global growth and demand to reset global supply,” he says. “The catch-22 here is due to better genetics and better technology, corn yields (with the exception of 2012) have been growing at a pace of about 2-3 bu. per acre annually.”

Read the full report.

Ethanol Co-product Exports Set Record in 2015

ddgsExports of the ethanol co-product and livestock feed distillers grains set a new record of 12.56 million metric tons last year, according to a new summary of ethanol co-product trade statistics released by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). U.S. exports of distillers grains were 11 percent higher than 2014, and more than double the amount exported in 2009.

“This report shows the global reach of American-made distillers grains,” said RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “In 2015, an estimated 34 percent of U.S. distillers grains production was exported, meaning one out of every three tons produced was shipped to foreign markets. These data make it crystal clear that the U.S. ethanol industry is both fueling and feeding the world. It is also worth noting that DG exports were worth almost $3 billion in 2015, providing a critical source of revenue to ethanol producers.”

The report finds that U.S. DG exports were shipped to 45 countries on five continents in 2015. RFA’s summary shows exports of distillers grains were shipped to 45 countries on five continents in 2015 with China, Mexico, Vietnam, South Korea, and Canada representing the top five markets. Half of the exports went to China, Mexico received 13 percent, and both Vietnam and South Korea received five percent.

Reports Find Increasing Ethanol Efficiency

Two recent reports have found that ethanol production continues to become even more efficient. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Chief Economist and titled, “2015 Energy Balance for the Corn Ethanol Industry“. The second report titled, “Literature Review of Estimated Market Effects of U.S. Corn Starch Ethanol,” was published by the University of Missouri, Food and Agricultural Policy Institute (FAPRI).

Corn field on BJ and Bob Funke's Iowa farm.  Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Corn field on BJ and Bob Funke’s Iowa farm. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Both studies reported that ethanol production continues to be increasingly energy efficient, and that increased production would continue to benefit the farm economy by increasing corn prices. Both reports also find that even with increased corn ethanol production, there would be more than enough corn to meet the needs of animal producers such as livestock.

USDA Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement regarding the report findings, “Between 1991 and 2010, direct energy use in corn production has dropped by 46 percent per bushel of corn produced and total energy use per bushel of corn by 35 percent. Moreover, between 2005 and 2010, direct energy use fell by 25 percent and the total energy use by 8.2 percent per bushel—meaning that between 2005 and 2010, the energy required per bushel of corn produced dropped by about 5 percent. The bottom line is, today, more energy is being produced from ethanol than is used to produce it, by factors of 2 to 1 nationally and by factors of 4 to 1 in the Midwest. ”

In response to the reports, Growth Energy Co-Chair Tom Buis stated, “The USDA report confirms several things the ethanol industry has been saying for years – efficiency in ethanol production is on the rise.” Buis continued by noting for years Big Oil and special interests have been attempting to drive a narrative that is false and an effort to maintain their fuel transportation fuel monopoly. He also pointed out that the FAPRI study found there was no definitive impact on global land use.

“These reports definitively prove that the misinformation and lies being spread by Big Oil and special interests hold absolutely no merit. Ethanol production has become, and continues to be more efficient,” Buis added, “Furthermore, Secretary Vilsack was spot on when he noted that, ‘there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of the bio-economy and the role biofuels and advanced biofuels will play in the future.’”