Going for the Fiber
by Holly Jessen (Ethanol Producer Magazine) Quad County Corn Processors is working toward production of both grain-based and cellulosic ethanol from the same feedstock.
Travis Brotherson, plant engineer at the 30 MMgy ethanol plant in Galva, Iowa, wasn’t even thinking about cellulosic ethanol when he stumbled upon a path to fermenting corn fiber. It started with an investigation into measuring residual starch in distillers grains that led him to experiment with breaking down additional starch in the coproduct. That’s when he realized the treatment was yielding more sugar than expected by also breaking down fiber. “At first, it was almost confusion, because we weren’t expecting these results,” he tellsEthanol Producer Magazine.
Three years later, Quad County Corn Processors is poised to begin construction on the bolt-on cellulosic ethanol technology invented by Brotherson. The project will cost an estimated $8.5 million, $5.7 million of which will come from two separate grants awarded by the U.S. DOE and the Iowa Power Fund. The goal is to begin construction in the spring and reach operational status in the third or fourth quarter of next year.
… The process will also result in 1.6 pounds of corn oil per bushel of corn, up 1.1 pounds from the 0.5 pounds the ethanol plant is extracting currently. The process will alter the plant’s main coproduct enough that it won’t really be considered distillers grains anymore, Johnson says. Minus the fermented fiber, output will decrease to about 85 percent of what is produced today. The new coproduct, which will have similarities to corn gluten meal, will be sold under a yet-to-be determined name as a high-protein, low-fiber animal feed that is expected to be especially attractive to monogastric feed markets. READ MORE and MORE and MORE