One of the new NEC Tech Connect sessions at this year’s National Ethanol Conference focused on new technologies that are working to increase the demand and value for ethanol and have successfully converted the fiber within the corn kernel into extremely valuable cellulosic ethanol.
Miloud Araba, head of technical services for the Enogen group at Syngenta, gave the presentation on the Cellerate process technology that is responsible for this new conversion.
“If we can convert that corn kernel fiber, which we can, into ethanol, that would add a lot of value to the ethanol by converting it into cellulosic ethanol,” he said. “Cellulosic ethanol has a lot of value for the corn industry and for the ethanol industry in general in terms of lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving the yield of the plant on a bushel basis, and adding more value to the feed by concentrating the protein content and reducing fiber, which allows the ethanol plants to go to a higher value market.”
The process that has been running at commercial plants like Quad County Corn Processors since 2014.
“The interest is in why converting corn kernel fiber into cellulosic ethanol is important, and the key piece is that the fiber is there to convert and is a low-hanging fruit to producing cellulosic ethanol,” said Araba. “There is an opportunity for using existing dry grain ethanol plants in the US to produce as much as 1.5 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol>”
Cellulosic ethanol in general is something of great interest to nations across the globe. While other feedstocks, such as switchgrass, are also being considered as possible sources of cellulosic ethanol, Araba explained that the Cellerate process of converting corn kernel fiber into cellulosic ethanol is a key step to increasing the production of cellulosic ethanol, as it helps grow momentum and keep investments in that area going.
“It’s our job at Syngenta to continue to invest with the industry as well as internally to keep developing feedstocks, keep developing processes, and keep developing pathways, and those are the three main things we need to produce more ethanol,” said Araba.
Learn more in Chuck’s full interview with Miloud here:
Interview with Miloud Arabas, Enogen