A fraction of ethanol produced at two plants in Nebraska and Iowa now will qualify as cellulosic ethanol in California’s fuel market, after the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, recently approved technology pathways.
Siouxland Ethanol, a 90-million-gallon corn ethanol plant in Jackson, Nebraska, and Elite Octane, a 150 mg plant in Atlantic, Iowa, both have achieved average corn kernel fiber ethanol production of 3% of total production, using Visalia, California,-based Edeniq’s technology that allows producers to quantify the amount of cellulosic ethanol produced from corn fiber.
According to a news release from Edeniq, the company’s “Intellulose 2.0” technology achieves between 2% and 4.5% cellulosic ethanol production from the corn kernel fiber at existing corn ethanol plants. The technology measures the amount of ethanol produced from multiple different molecules in corn kernels and quantifies the individual contribution of each component.
Seven other ethanol plants that used the company’s technology were previously approved by the EPA for D3 Renewable Identification Number, or RIN, generation and/or by CARB for low-carbon intensity corn kernel fiber ethanol production.
The emergence of a commercial cellulosic ethanol industry has been slow. A number of technical and federal policy challenges has made full commercialization difficult.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 called for 21 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol production by 2022 — the industry has fallen far short.
In a 2017 interview with DTN, Edeniq President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Thome, said his company’s enzymatic technology has the potential to add 300 million to 600 million gallons of cellulosic production to the nation’s fuel supply with no capital investment at existing ethanol plants.
Thome said many enzymes used by corn-ethanol plants today also produce cellulosic ethanol using corn fiber. Problem is, most plants have no way to verify how many cellulosic gallons they produce. The Edeniq technology allows corn-ethanol producers to verify cellulosic gallons.
Edeniq’s system helps corn ethanol producers certify D3 renewable identification numbers, or RINs, gallons in the RFS. In addition to the money made from selling ethanol, those plants make money on the RINs.