On October 15 DuPont Industrial Biosciences and Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) announced a new multiyear contract to supply the enzymes that enable QCCP's Cellerate process in the production of cellulosic biofuel from corn kernel fiber. QCCP is a 35-million-gallon-per-year corn starch ethanol production facility at Galva, in Ida County in northwest Iowa. This plant, which is owned by area farmers who bought shares in it when it was built in the year 2000, also produces some cellulosic ethanol.
Cellulosic ethanol is a biofuel made from the inedible parts of plants. It's a transportation fuels that's environmentally friendly, with low greenhouse gas emissions. In 2014, QCCP produced Iowa's first cellulosic ethanol gallons and the world's first gallons from corn kernel fiber with a process developed by QCCP and powered by DuPont enzyme technology.
QCCP plant produces grain ethanol and cellulosic ethanol
DuPont's enzymes have been a part of the process from the start. Over the last year of production, QCCP chief engineer Travis Brotherson has seen a marked difference in the value between DuPont's enzymes and its competitors' offering. "DuPont's enzymes have consistently outperformed other products in driving cellulosic ethanol and corn oil yield in our Cellerate process," says Brotherson. QCCP uses DuPont OPTIMASH suite of enzymes from the DuPont Accellerase portfolio of cellulosic enzymes. OPTIMASH enzymes are specifically formulated for use in the corn fiber cellulosic application.
The QCCP ethanol plant currently produces 35 million gallons of grain ethanol per year. With the cellulosic "bolt-on" technology, a maximum of 4 million gallons of advanced biofuel can be produced per year with the corn kernels left over from the grain ethanol process. Currently, QCCP produces 2 million gallons of biofuel per year from cellulose conversion, but anticipates production of an additional 2 million gallons of biofuel per year once a C5 yeast is approved.
Delivering on promise of developing more advanced renewable fuel
The benefits of adding second-generation biofuel production to an existing dry grind ethanol facility are substantial: from providing additional ethanol, to Cellulosic RINs, to additional distillers corn oil. QCCP further estimates that their technology has the potential to enable grain ethanol plants in the United States to produce over 1 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol annually based on total corn kernel fiber conversion in the dry grind industry.
"We've developed a whole new category for ethanol producers to get their foot in the door of the cellulosic market," says Delayne Johnson, CEO of QCCP. "And no other partner offers the breadth of expertise that DuPont brings to the table: from enzymes to co-products. Together, we are able to deliver the most advanced process technology for our customers to grow this market and deliver on the promise of advanced renewable fuel."
Advanced enzyme technology helps ethanol plants be successful
In addition to advanced enzyme technology, DuPont has over 25 years of expertise in the animal nutrition sector, which enables companies like QCCP to work with world renowned animal nutritionists to achieve maximum value from their co-products.
"DuPont's goal is to enable the bioeconomy through science," says Jan Koninckx, global business director for advanced biofuel at DuPont. "To reach that goal, we offer multiple solutions, from our full advanced biofuels technology licensing to delivering customized solutions in both enzyme technology and co-product production for ethanol producers. We're proud to be a partner with QCCP, enabling the growth and success of advanced biofuels here in the United States."
DuPont will be joining QCCP as a producer of cellulosic ethanol this fall, with the commissioning of its own cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Iowa on Oct. 30. The facility will be the largest in the world and produce 30 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel from corn stover gathered from local farmers in the region.
Quad County Corn Processors is a 35-million-gallon-per-year corn starch ethanol production facility in Galva, Ida County, Iowa. Founded in 2000, Quad County is a cooperative that is owned by 353 shareholder members. Today, the company employs 40 full-time employees who operate the plant 24 hours a day. In addition to producing millions of gallons of clean burning ethanol and valuable corn oil, Quad County consumes 12.5 million bushels of corn annually and manufactures 250,000 tons of Golden Bran feed co-products for the livestock industry. The company also operates an ethanol trans-load railroad facility in Cherokee. For more information, visit the website at Quad-County.com or call Delayne Johnson at 712-282-4628.