Corn Crop Seen as Main Source For Cellulosic Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

Corn’s role in cellulosic ethanol appears solid.

According to a story in Illinois Farm Bureau’s FarmWeek, the push to promote “cellulosic” biomass ethanol development generated some early sparring between corn growers and proponents of new “energy crops.”

But experts at a recent Cellulosic Ethanol Summit in Washington, D.C., cited public-private efforts to generate cellulosic fuel from existing corn residues, potentially in tandem with existing starch-based ethanol production.

Charles Abbas, Archer Daniels Midland Co. director of yeast and renewables research, sees “captive” fibers from corn and soybean processing as predominant short-term cellulosic feedstocks, with additional “mid-term opportunities” for crop straws, stovers, stalks, and tops.

Broin Companies, the nation’s largest dry mill ethanol producer, plans to build a corn-based cellulose-to-ethanol plant in Iowa by 2009. Voyager Ethanol in Emmetsburg, Iowa, will be converted from a 50-million-gallon-per-year conventional ethanol facility into a 125-million-gallon “bio-refinery” that will produce fuel from fiber and stover.

Corn-based cellulosic potential should grow with efforts to boost per-acre grain yields to meet future energy, feed, and export demand, said Rod Bothast, scientist with Ed­ wards­ ville’s National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center.

Read full story here.

Ethanol, News