Partnerships, new technologies critical to ethanol industry's future

Partnerships, new technologies critical to ethanol industry's future

Increasing the availability of E15 blend is the key to growing the demand for ethanol.

Syngenta and Growth Energy are working together for the fourth consecutive year with Iowa Speedway to demonstrate the value of the E15 ethanol blend. They recently helped sponsor the NASCAR XFINITY Series American Ethanol E15 250 race, presented by Enogen. Representing a wide array of ethanol supporters, from farmers to bioengineering firms, the American Ethanol race was established by Growth Energy in partnership with the National Corn Growers Association to increase awareness of the value of American-made ethanol.

2016 WINNER: Sam Hornish Jr. won this year’s American Ethanol E15 250 at the Iowa Speedway. At the race, Syngenta and Growth Energy collaborated to increase awareness for Earth-friendly American ethanol.

“Ethanol is helping America reduce its dependence on foreign oil, lowering prices at the pump, improving the environment with lower emissions, and growing the economy with jobs that can’t be outsourced,” says Jack Bernens, head of Enogen at Syngenta. “The American Ethanol E15 250 is an excellent opportunity to engage consumers and help increase awareness for the benefits of Earth-friendly American ethanol. Syngenta is pleased to once again be working with Iowa Speedway, Growth Energy and the FFA to support the ethanol industry through our sponsorship of this signature event to tell ethanol’s story.”

Enogen is first biotech corn trait to enhance ethanol production

Enogen® corn enzyme technology is an exclusive in-seed innovation from Syngenta and features the first biotech corn output trait designed specifically to enhance ethanol production. Syngenta is currently contracting with 20 ethanol plants in eight states to use Enogen corn. The 20 plants have a combined ethanol production capacity of more than 1.5 billion gallons.

Last year, Syngenta announced it would donate one dollar for every acre planted with Enogen corn to the Prime the Pump Fund during 2015-16. Prime the Pump is helping high-volume, progressive-minded and industry-leading fuel retailers, who will demonstrate the performance, cost savings and profit opportunity of marketing higher ethanol blends such as E15. During the recent race weekend, local FFA members visited with racegoers to help tell ethanol’s story and raise funds for the Prime the Pump Fund, which will be matched by Syngenta.

Increase in ethanol demand is needed for continued success

Retail partnerships like those participating in Prime the Pump are more important than ever as a strategy for growing demand for American ethanol, says Kelly Manning, vice president of development for Growth Energy. “American ethanol has become an important success story,” Manning says. “For our industry to enjoy sustainable success, however, there needs to be an increase in ethanol demand. Looking ahead, retail partnerships will be key to expanding the availability for higher ethanol blends.”

To provide consumers access to higher ethanol blends in a growing number of retail locations, Growth Energy is working with convenience retailer Kum & Go, an industry leader in introducing alternative fuels. By the end of 2016, Kum & Go will be offering E15 at more than 100 stores across the country.

“We have a strong tradition in our company to implement sustainability within our business and at our locations. From our 100 LEED-certified stores to our selection of alternative fuels, E15 was a natural addition to our fuel offering,” says Jim Pirolli, vice president of fuels, Kum & Go. “Having E15 in our portfolio allows Kum & Go to offer our customers a quality product at a great value.”

Cellulosic technology is making ethanol more sustainable

In addition to retail partnerships, new technologies are also critical to the future of biofuels. In 2014, using Cellerate™ process technology, the Galva, Iowa-based Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP)—a farmer-owned ethanol production plant—was the first commercial cellulosic facility (using corn kernel fiber as feedstock) in the world and achieved EPA certification to generate D3 Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). Cellerate is a collaboration between Syngenta and Cellulosic Ethanol Technologies, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of QCCP. To date, QCCP has produced 4.2 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol via the Cellerate process.

Producing more ethanol from the same kernel of corn

Delayne Johnson, chief executive officer at QCCP, says the generation of D3 RINs helps fulfill advanced and cellulosic requirements set forth by the EPA Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Issuing D3 RINs has also enabled the company to expand sales into racing and advanced biofuels markets. “With Cellerate, the biofuels industry now has the technology to make biofuels more sustainable and produce more ethanol from the same kernel of corn,” Johnson says.

Supporting both food and fuel production, ethanol is making a significant contribution to the U.S. economy, helping to drive down gasoline prices for consumers and reduce carbon emissions for a cleaner environment. “Syngenta recognizes the importance of retail partnerships to help grow demand for American ethanol and initiatives to help make cellulosic ethanol a reality,” says Bernens. “We believe both are key to the long-term success of the ethanol industry.”

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