technology that will convert corn kernel fibers into cellulosic ethanol.
Quad County Corn Processors has installed new technology that now convert corn kernel fibers into cellulosic ethanol.

July 1, 2014

Quad County Corn Processors Produces First Gallons of Cellulosic Ethanol in Iowa

JOHNSTON, IOWA – The first ever gallons of commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol produced in Iowa flowed from farmer-owned Quad County Corn Processor’s distillation unit Tuesday July 1. This marks the commissioning of the farmer-owned ethanol plant’s Adding Cellulosic Ethanol (ACE) project, a new “bolt-on” process that adds the capability to convert the kernel’s corn fiber into cellulosic ethanol, in addition to traditional corn starch ethanol.

Today, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) praised Quad County Corn Processors on the production of the first gallon of ethanol from their new cellulosic “bolt-on” ethanol plant in Galva, Iowa. The Adding Cellulosic Ethanol (ACE) project is turning corn kernel fiber, a cellulosic feedstock, into high-octane, clean-burning ethanol. The facility is expected to produce 2 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol from a feedstock already onsite.

RFA’s President and CEO, Bob Dinneen, said, “Quad County is to be congratulated. This first gallon of cellulosic ethanol represents just the beginning of a long, promising future. Delayne Johnson and his team are to be congratulated for their vision, determination, and innovation.”

Dinneen continued, “It is worth noting that Quad County is the perfect demonstration of first and second generation ethanol being produced side-by-side to bring more choice to America in the form of low-cost, high-octane, renewable fuel.”

“Through hard work and forward-thinking innovation, we’re excited to be the first cellulosic ethanol producers in Iowa,” stated Quad County Corn Processors CEO Delayne Johnson.

Johnson also noted the new technology will improve the plant’s distillers grains (DDGs) co-product. “As a result of the new process, the DDGs will be much more similar to a corn gluten meal. It will increase the protein content of the livestock feed by about 40 percent, and we also expect to see a boost in corn oil extraction by about 300 percent,” added Johnson.

Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) is a 35 million gallon per year (MMgy) capacity ethanol production facility in Galva, Iowa.  QCCP’s Adding Cellulosic Ethanol (ACE) process uses corn kernel fiber to produce an additional 2 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol.

Iowa is the nation’s leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 42 ethanol refineries capable of producing more than 3.8 billion gallons annually, including 2 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol production and two cellulosic ethanol facilities currently under construction. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually.

Since 2000, Quad County has operated a 35-million gallon a year corn ethanol biorefinery with 35 full-time employees. The ACE project added five additional full-time jobs, which will bring Quad County’s total employment to 40 full-time employees.

The technology that helped make today’s announcement a reality is a direct result of Quad County Corn Processors Cooperative receiving a $4.25 million investment from USDA and the Department of Energy as part of the Biomass Research and Development Initiative. Iowa Power Fund also provided a $1.45 million grant.

Syngenta recently partnered with QCCP to license the ACE technology, which is used in combination with the Enogen corn trait.

Quad County was the first ethanol plant in the country to adopt Enogen corn, featuring a trait specifically developed to maximize the ethanol production process. Delayne Johnson said they starting using Enogen in their plant full time on January 8, 2013. To date, he said the plant has been able to reduce its energy use, and thus energy costs by approximately five percent, because with Enogen they can put more starch in each fermenter. (The starch is what is converted to sugar and then converted to ethanol.)