Commercial Production of Cellulosic Ethanol Comes to Iowa

by Henry Kaplan | Jul 02, 2014 |


In Iowa, the state’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol operation is up and running. In a state rich in corn, Quad County Corn Processors are converting fiber from corn kernels into cellulosic ethanol.

This new production of cellulosic ethanol is taking place at a facility that already produces traditional corn ethanol. With a $9 million investment at the existing plant, they added what they needed to produce 2 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol a year.

Despite a push from George W. Bush years ago, cellulosic ethanol has been slow to take off, and has faced several high-profile setbacks.

But the operators in of Quad County say that it’s working for them:

Johnson said the project enables the company to produce 6 percent more ethanol, 300 percent more corn oil, and livestock feed with 40 percent more protein.

“We get more out of the same kernel of corn that we already purchase and process,” Johnson said. “It’s a three-way win.”

On top of that, two much larger cellulosic ethanol plants are expected to open in Iowa this year, quickly bringing the amount of cellulosic ethanol made in the state from zero up to almost 60 million gallons annually.

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