Page 1


SURVEYING THE CELLULOSIC SECTOR Updates on the Most Prominent Projects Page 20

From FEW Page 28

Corn Fiber Conversion Makes Dollars and Sense Page 36


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Inside an Industry

An update on technology and projects in the U.S. and around the world By Susanne Retka Schill and Ann Bailey

Closing In On Cellulosic By Tom Bryan

Pushing for Year-Round Access to E15 By Bob Dinneen










Challenges and Possibilities

A snapshot of the 2017 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo By Lisa Gibson

NASCAR, Growth Energy Salute Our Veterans By Emily Skor

Better to Burn Out Than Fade Away? By Ron Lamberty




Decarbonizing Transportation to Meet Climate Goals By Leticia Phillips







Processing Pathways

Ethanol production from fiber is gaining ground with improved technologies By Lisa Gibson

What’s In a Number? By Dave VanderGriend


44 BIOFILM Hidden Threat

Biofilm reduces cooling efficiency, increases bottleneck vulnerability By Andrew Ledlie

ON THE COVER Enerkem Alberta Biofuels soon will add ethanol production to its municipal solid waste-to-methanol plant in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. PHOTO: ENERKEM

4 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | AUGUST 2017

Ethanol Producer Magazine: (USPS No. 023-974) August 2017, Vol. 23, Issue 8. Ethanol Producer Magazine is published monthly by BBI International. Principal Office: 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. Periodicals Postage Paid at Grand Forks, North Dakota and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Ethanol Producer Magazine/Subscriptions, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58203.

A LEGACY OF PROVEN INNOVATION At Solenis, we are committed to helping you stay ahead of the curve. Whether you need to increase your yields, meet a regulatory requirement or reduce your costs, we’ve got you covered.

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2012 Low-corrosion biocide for cooling systems

2014 Blended scale inhibitors for evaporators

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Process Aids Water Treatment Chemistries Monitoring and Control Systems

2016 Biofilm monitoring and control system



EDITORIAL President & Editor in Chief Tom Bryan Vice President of Content & Executive Editor Tim Portz Managing Editor Lisa Gibson News Editor Erin Voegele Copy Editor Jan Tellmann

ART Art Director Jaci Satterlund Graphic Designer Raquel Boushee

PUBLISHING Chairman Mike Bryan CEO Joe Bryan

SALES Vice President of Operations Matthew Spoor Sales & Marketing Director John Nelson Business Development Director Howard Brockhouse Senior Account Manager/Bioenergy Team Leader Chip Shereck Circulation Manager Jessica Tiller Marketing & Advertising Manager Marla DeFoe

EDITORIAL BOARD Ringneck Energy Walter Wendland Little Sioux Corn Processors Steve Roe Commonwealth Agri-Energy Mick Henderson Pinal Energy Keith Kor Aemetis Advanced Fuels Eric McAfee Western Plains Energy Derek Peine Corn Plus Mike Jerke

2018 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo BetaTec Hop Products Biofuels Financial Conference CPM Roskamp Champion D3MAX LLC DuPont Industrial Biosciences Durr Systems, Inc. Ethanol Producer Magazine's Top News Ethanol Producer Magazine's Webinar Series Edeniq, Inc. Fagen Inc. Fluid Quip Process Technologies, LLC Growth Energy Hydro-Klean LLC ICM, Inc. J.C. Ramsdell Enviro Services, Inc. Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits Leaf - Lesaffre Advanced Fermentations Mole Master Services Corporation Nalco Water Phibro Ethanol Performance Group POET LLC R.S. Stover Solenis LLC StoneAge Syngenta: Enogen Terydon Inc. Trident Automation Westmor Industries, LLC WINBCO

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6 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | AUGUST 2017


Closing In On Cellulosic Last month, when the U.S. EPA released its proposed 2018 biofuels blending volumes, it justified a flat-to-lower cellulosic biofuels obligation—which it had never done before—by citing the limited commercial availability of fuel in that category. This month, in our timely Tom Bryan

President & Editor in Chief

update on cellulosic projects worldwide, we see how advanced biofuels policy and production remain intertwined in a complex chicken-or-egg saga. As the federal government brake taps on its advanced biofuels commitment and hesitates to change a law that hampers ethanol’s expansion, some producers worry that the low-carbon ethanol they’re striving to produce may not have a market when it arrives. Others say the Feds will, in fact, fully implement the Renewable Fuel Standard in step with, but not ahead of, the gallons of cellulosic ethanol that come available. In our page-20 cover story, “Inside An Industry,” we receive updates on the world’s most viable cellulosic ethanol plants, from Poet-DSM and DuPont’s high-profile efforts in the Midwest, to lesser-known contenders in Florida, California, Canada, India and elsewhere. You’ll get a sense, at least with Poet-DSM and DuPont, that the reality of cellulosic ethanol, assuredly produced in the tens of millions of gallons annually, is close but not yet here. While ethanol from corn residue—the stubble, leaves and cobs—garners much of the attention and criticism aimed at our industry’s next-generation quest, it seems likely that corn fiber-based ethanol will arrive first. Over the past year, Ethanol Producer Magazine has covered nearly every movement in the corn fiber-to-ethanol space, capturing the progress of companies like D3MAX, Quad County Corn Processors, Fluid Quip, ICM and others. In “Processing Pathways,” on page 36, we revisit them, starting with California-based Edeniq, which employs cellulosic enzymes to boost an ethanol plant’s output. The company’s lowcost solution gives producers, on average, 1 percent cellulosic ethanol and a 2 percent lift in overall production. The story aptly explains the differences between in-situ and separate processing of corn fiber. Finally, within this issue, you’ll find a photo-laden recap of the 2017 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo. This year’s conference was the largest since 2008, and there was a palpable sense of optimism amidst its 2,100 attendees. Minneapolis was, once again, an ideal host city and the 33rd FEW will go down as one of our finest this decade. Enjoy the images, starting on page 28.


TWITTER.COM/ETHANOLMAGAZINE AUGUST 2017 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | 7


Pushing for Year-Round Access to E15 By Bob Dinneen

When consumers go to fuel up their vehicles, I want to make sure they have more choices than just gasoline. That’s why the Renewable Fuels Association has been pushing for a change that would ensure consumers have yearround access to 15 percent ethanol (E15). Because of an outdated Environmental Protection Agency regulation, retail gas stations are essentially prohibited from selling E15 in more than two-thirds of the nation’s gasoline market during the summer ozone control season, from June 1 to Sept. 15. Marketers are reluctant to offer fuels to their customers seasonally, so the regulation has the effect of being a permanent barrier to E15 growth. E15 is legally approved for use in all vehicles built since 2001, meaning E15 is an approved fuel for more than 90 percent of the cars, trucks and SUVs on the road today. Further, more than 80 percent of 2017 model-year cars and light trucks have been explicitly approved by the automakers to use E15. E15 is currently sold at about 700 retail gas stations in 29 states. It is estimated that more than 750 million trouble-free miles have been driven on E15 since its commercial introduction in 2012. Earlier this year, Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., introduced S. 517, which would resolve the issue by extending the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to ethanol blends above E10. The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works recently held a hearing on the legislation, providing a forum to discuss why a legislative fix is necessary. The RFA “enthusiastically supports” the legislation, I wrote to Senate EPW Committee Chairman John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and ranking member Tom Carper, D-Del. Major retailers like Thornton’s, Kum & Go, Sheetz, Murphy USA and RaceTrac already offer the fuel blend. And in 2016, HWRT Oil Co. became the first terminal operator to offer pre-blended E15 at wholesale terminals in Illinois, Indiana and Arkansas.

8 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | AUGUST 2017

Sheetz is the largest E15 retailer in the country, offering the fuel blend at more than 190 of its stores throughout the MidAtlantic region. At the recent Senate EPW hearing on the bill, Mike Lorenz, Sheetz’s executive vice president of Petroleum Supply, noted that the retailer has had experience with E15. “Even though we have done little to market the product, customers are finding it,” he said. “They are finding it because it is 3 to 10 cents cheaper than regular gasoline and is 88 octane, instead of 87. That’s what motivates fuel purchases—cost and performance. They don’t care about fuel volatility, ethanol concentration or the public policy behind renewable fuels. And after millions of E15 transactions by thousands of E15 customers purchasing millions of gallons of E15, and driving millions of miles on the fuel, one thing is clear— we have not had a single customer complaint. Our customers like this fuel. And now, they also demand it.” As Fischer said at the same hearing, “Good business decisions rely on accurate information and stability. Providing the RVP waiver for E15 would ensure retailers have the certainty they need to make sound business decisions that will lead to greater economic growth opportunities in our local communities. … Renewable solutions are out there to fulfill our nation’s energy needs. E15 is one of them. American families should be able to decide which fuel they put into their vehicles. Our bill would ensure retailers can offer consumers consistent choices at the pump year-round with less confusion and red tape.” I couldn’t agree more with Fischer. Ethanol is the cleanest and highest-octane source of fuel on the planet. Greater consumer access to higher-level blends like E15 remains our top priority and we are committed to working with leaders in Congress and the administration to make that a reality. Author: Bob Dinneen President and CEO Renewable Fuels Association 202.289.3835

EVENTS CALENDAR Christianson PLLP's Biofuels Financial Conference September 27-28, 2017 Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota Produced by Christianson PLLP and organized by BBI International, this year’s Biofuels Financial Conference is focused on the best ways to explore new options in today’s changing ethanol and biodiesel industries. By understanding risks associated with various technology and marketing initiatives, and by exploring various options for making the best use of capital and resources, attendees will learn how to create a well-managed plan for growth and change—a plan that maximizes profitability while ensuring future stability and meeting the expectations of all stakeholders. 866-746-8385 |

2018 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo June 11-13, 2018 CenturyLink Center Omaha Omaha, Nebraska From its inception, the mission of this event has remained constant: The FEW delivers timely presentations with a strong focus on commercial-scale ethanol production— from quality control and yield maximization to regulatory compliance and fiscal management. The FEW is the ethanol industry’s premier forum for unveiling new technologies and research findings. The program covers cellulosic ethanol while remaining committed to optimizing existing grain ethanol operations. 866-746-8385 |

2018 National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo June 11-13, 2018 CenturyLink Center Omaha Omaha, Nebraska Colocated with the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop, the National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo is tailored for industry professionals engaged in producing, developing and deploying advanced biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol, biobased platform chemicals, polymers and other renewable molecules that have the potential to meet or exceed the performance of petroleum-derived products. 866-746-8385 |

Please check our website for upcoming webinars

AUGUST 2017 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | 9


NASCAR, Growth Energy Salute Our Veterans By Emily Skor

American ethanol embodies the American spirit of ingenuity, innovation and patriotism. We are proud

of our heritage and appreciative of the opportunities afforded to those who work hard, take risks and play fair. We hold the men and women who have served our country in the armed services in the highest regard because we know full well that their sacrifice and commitment upholds our freedoms and way of life. It’s no wonder that veterans make up 19 percent of the ethanol industry’s workforce. At Growth Energy, honoring our military is a tradition and, on July 1, we were proud to work with our partners at NASCAR and Richard Childress Racing to publicly express gratitude for our military service members, past and present. NASCAR is as patriotic a sport as you will find. That’s why the NASCAR Salutes Refreshed by Coca-Cola program runs throughout much of the summer and honors the U.S. military. As part of that effort, we unveiled a special edition red, white and blue American ethanol paint scheme on Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet race car at the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Gen. Wesley Clark, Growth Energy board member, served as the grand marshal of the race. Accompanying him to the track were employees of Growth Energy member companies who had previously served our country in the military, along with their spouses. The group enjoyed a VIP experience at the track as our thank you for their service to our country and our industry, and was honored by a crowd that truly respects and appreciates the sacrifices our military makes for the U.S. every day. As those who follow the sport might know, NASCAR surpassed 10 million miles driven on Sunoco Green E15 last year during the 2016 racing season. NASCAR made the switch to E15 in 2011 and never looked back. Often, we focus on how well E15 has performed for the sport, delivering more octane, better performance and reduced emissions for every one of those 10 million-plus miles. What is sometimes lost in all that talk about performance is that American ethanol and NASCAR are a perfect match at a deeper level.

10 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | AUGUST 2017

The American ethanol industry prides itself on producing homegrown fuel that reduces our dependence on foreign oil, often imported from hostile nations overseas. In my time at the helm of Growth Energy, I have seen firsthand how important it is to our members that the fuel they produce strengthens America’s energy and national security. This industry creates hundreds of thousands of skilled American jobs that cannot be outsourced, supporting communities in the heartland that are proud to feed and fuel America. The ethanol business is hard, honest work, which is exactly what our members want. Above all else, they are proud to be American. As I’ve come to learn, NASCAR truly shares the same values. According to NASCAR’s data analysis, 16 percent of fans currently serve or have served in the armed forces. Meanwhile, NASCAR fans are approximately 30 percent more likely than nonfans to agree with the idea of purchasing American-made goods whenever they can. Beyond the hard data, there is simply an indescribable feeling of American pride at every race, whether it falls during the NASCAR Salutes period of the season or not. Our partnership with NASCAR and Richard Childress Racing goes beyond sponsorship agreements and brand visibility. It even extends beyond the beautiful synergies between our high-performance fuel and high-performance race cars driving under the most demanding conditions. At the end of the day, we share many of the same fundamental ideals about what makes this country and the people living in it so great. July Fourth is a wonderful reminder of why being in the sport is such an enriching experience. We are committed to making sure every NASCAR fan across America is a fan of American ethanol, not only because we fuel the sport, but because we, too, embody the values they hold dear. Author: Emily Skor CEO, Growth Energy 202.545.4000

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Better to Burn Out Than Fade Away? By Ron Lamberty

“Fossil fuels have lost. The rest of the world just doesn’t know it yet.” Some of you may have seen that quote earlier this summer, after it first appeared in an article in the Financial Times of London. It was a quote from Eddie O’Connor, CEO of Mainstream Renewable Power, a company headquartered in Ireland that describes itself as a global developer of “large-scale wind and solar power plants.” One could brush off O’Connor’s statement as bluster and selfpromotion by a person whose company benefits if the statement is proven true. Or, one could accept the fact that regardless of his motives, he’s probably right. A tad too optimistic, but ultimately right. After all, whether it happens by 2025 or 2075, the very term used to describe O’Connor’s business and ours—“alternative energy” and “alternative fuels”—indicates technologies developed to use instead of the ones we already have. Entire industries don’t just sprout up unless there is great promise in the new technology, or great disgust with the old. Or both. There can be little doubt that when economics and availability of new energy sources equal those of current sources, the alternatives will win. Ask the horse and buggy—if you can find one. It had a pretty sweet 5,000-year run, starting shortly after the invention of the wheel, and not being challenged until the development of the automobile in the late 1800s, and assembly-line production in the early 1900s. But they started to “lose” 200 years earlier, when the first steam engine was invented. They just didn’t know it yet. Eventually, steam engines gave way to larger, more powerful engines, leading to smaller versions classified by the horse power they replaced, when powering alternative carriages called automobiles. In only 30 years, horseless carriages disrupted five millennia of horse and carriage transportation domination. Even efforts to portray automobiles as uncontrollable harbingers of death and destruction (probably funded by “Big Horse”) couldn’t stop the change. Apparently, a little property damage and human carnage

12 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | AUGUST 2017

was a small price to pay for replacement of transportation producing 45 pounds of road apples daily and requiring fuel even when it wasn’t used. Horses lost, but carriages adapted to the new power source. Today, most car buyers are more concerned with the “carriage” part of the car than they are anything else—including the fuel. Which brings me back to the Financial Times article… The piece begins with the story of an English company that created “a smarter version of a turbocharger” and had drawn interest from a dozen automakers. Early this year, according to the company’s owner, suddenly, “none wanted new products for cars running on fossil fuels.” He said carmakers told him “We think the shift to electric vehicles is accelerating,” and “We are going to put (our research and development money) into the electric car revolution.” Given the ethanol industry’s recent investment in improved availability of higher-octane, higher-ethanol fuels for future turbocharged engines, that statement was chilling. When later news reports said Volvo would stop building cars with internal combustion engines in two years, I froze. Fortunately, initial news reports were wrong (as initial news reports can be). Volvo actually said it won’t build cars with solely internal combustion engines. And maybe automakers are taking a pass on new turbocharge technology because ethanol octane also adds oxygen, making it unnecessary? Whatever the case, and given excitement over renewables elsewhere, it calls into question those who would let flex fuels—our alternative fuels—just fade away, while promoting blends made mostly of fossil fuels. Ask retailers which blends they’d give up first. It won’t be flex fuel. Author: Ron Lamberty Senior Vice President American Coalition for Ethanol 605.334.3381


Decarbonizing Transportation to Meet Climate Goals By Leticia Phillips

As nations around the world begin implementing their Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement, decarbonizing transportation becomes increasingly important in limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (35.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

The scale of the challenge is clear. The transport sector currently contributes 23 percent of energy-related emissions worldwide, and 18 percent of human-generated, economy-wide emissions. Those contributions are growing. From 1990 to 2012, transport emissions grew an average of 0.5 percent in developed countries and an average of 4.8 percent in developing countries. Transport emissions from developing countries could exceed that of developed countries by 2018. Accordingly, the Paris Agreement targets reducing transport sector emissions to 2 to 3 gigatonnes (Gt) by 2050, instead of increasing to 13 to 15 Gt by 2050 under business-as-usual. The transport sector is among the most difficult and expensive to decarbonize, but we must strive to expand biofuel supply and demand to limit global warming to safe levels. The world is responding with action to ensure a clean transportation future, while driving economic growth. Brazil’s NDC aims to reduce emissions 37 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 by increasing biofuels to approximately 18 percent of its overall energy mix by 2030, but it’s not alone. More than 61 percent of all NDCs submitted to the Paris Agreement propose specific transport sector emissions-reduction measures. While electric vehicles can decarbonize transport, they’re not the only option, especially in developing countries or rural areas. Lowering global transportation emissions requires the participation of developing countries, since this is where transportation will grow fastest in the next 20 years. Biofuels can significantly contribute here—consider the fact that 100 countries around the world, many of them developing nations, already grow sugarcane. The U.S. EPA has certified sugarcane ethanol as 90 percent cleaner than conventional gasoline on a full life-cycle basis. This finding has repeatedly been confirmed by life-cycle analyses worldwide. But biofuels’ decarbonization potential isn’t limited to ethanol, and production is diversifying into new clean fuels. Some commercial biofuel

technologies can reach virtually zero emissions, and new production techniques could make second-generation ethanol and cellulosic biofuels emissions-negative in the near future. Since cellulose is the most common organic compound found on Earth, turning it into renewable energy is critical to switching away from petroleum-based fuel. While second-generation ethanol and cellulosic biofuels are still in their early stages, commercial production plants are coming online in America and Brazil, and multiple companies are developing cellulosic ethanol drop-in fuels for use in ground and air transportation. As output rises and experts improve production technologies, production prices will decline—good news for anyone shifting to low-carbon transportation. Reducing transportation emissions also offers clear paths toward inclusive economic growth. Biofuels represented the second-highest amount of green jobs worldwide in the International Renewable Energy Agency’s Annual Review 2017, with 1.7 million jobs (and 1 million in the sugarcane sector) out of 9.8 million globally. Even better, many of these jobs are concentrated in feedstock supply led by developing nations like Brazil, China and India. This economic potential is clear in Brazil, where sugarcane ethanol is produced in more than 1,040 municipalities and employs 465,000 people, compared with just 176 municipalities and 120,000 people involved in the oil industry. Ethanol and bioenergy produced from sugarcane already constitute 18.5 percent of Brazil’s energy mix, replacing more than 40 percent of national gasoline demand and avoiding 600 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions since the 1970s, all while using less than 1.5 percent of the country’s arable land. Reducing emissions from electricity generation is an important first step to slowing climate change, but meeting global decarbonization goals requires cutting transport emissions. Biofuels—particularly sugarcane ethanol—are arguably the cheapest and most sustainable option available to replace fossil fuels in transportation. Every gallon of biofuel that flows into fuel tanks around the world creates multiple benefits such as job creation, rural electrification, reduced oil imports and short-term public health benefits. Considering all this, it’s easy to see biofuels’ potential to reshape global fuel markets and create inclusive economic growth while expanding long-term climate benefits. All nations, including the U.S., must work together to encourage biofuel production and consumption, boost private sector investment and innovation, and establish measures to protect the environment. Author: Leticia Phillips North American Representative Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, UNICA 202.506.5299

14 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | AUGUST 2017


What’s In a Number? By Dave VanderGriend

Some people hate math, while others have a talent for it that comes from a love of numbers.

In either case, as the ethanol industry seeks to increase its demand and market share, it is unavoidably a numbers game—one that can get confusing. Plenty of talk circulates around ethanol blends above E10. Clearly, E15 is the next milestone. But as we work to capture ethanol's octane benefits and its ability to replace some of the most harmful components of gasoline, we know the number should be higher. But is there a “right” number or are we just after higher volumes? Some of our thinking stems from the great work done at the U.S. Department of Energy. Its engine fuel studies conclude the sweet spot for ethanol is between 25 and 40 percent. For example, at the pump, E30 is a 94 octane super premium that can be easily produced by splash blending 20 percent ethanol onto today’s E10. At these levels, current and future vehicles can take full advantage of the available octane and have an impact on reducing toxic emissions. According to Ford Motor Co. figures, emissions drop as ethanol is added, and they are at their lowest with 30 to 40 percent ethanol blends. It’s the scientific emission data and engine studies that prompted UAI to embrace E30. But that doesn’t mean we don’t

support other blends. In fact, our mission is to improve air quality by improving gasoline. We support all ethanol blends, because any amount of ethanol simply added to gasoline helps protect public health. But if E30 is the scientific sweet spot, why is E25 mentioned so often? For example, the 2017 BMW Mini Cooper allows E25, which reaches the recommended 91 octane. One reason is the fact that standard gasoline pumps and hoses are UL certified to handle 25 percent volume blends. This existing infrastructure could be used today, providing more access across the nation. These new UL25 pumps are also much less expensive than E85/blending pump dispensers, reducing retailer costs. Whatever the number—E20, E25, E30 or E40—the additional ethanol provides significant benefits in performance, cost and emission reductions. And that’s good for all of us. UAI will continue working to break down regulatory barriers so we can access more ethanol, no matter the number. Author: Dave VanderGriend President, Urban Air Initiative CEO, ICM Inc. 316.796.0900

AUGUST 2017 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | 15


People, Partnerships & Projects

US DOE announces new director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Poet CEO Jeff Broin receives 2017 BIO George Washington Carver Award

Thomas Zacharia has been appointed director of the U.S. DepartZacharia ment of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He was unanimously selected by the UT-Battelle Board of Governors to succeed Thom Mason. Zacharia’s career at ORNL dates back to 1987, when he started as a postdoctoral researcher. He has served in a variety of roles, most recently as the deputy director for Science and Technology. Zacharia has contributed to making ORNL one of the world’s leading research institutions, and has helped broaden partnerships with the academic community across multiple disciplines, according to the DOE. He holds two U.S. patents and is author or coauthor of more than 100 publications on high-performance computing for manufacturing processes.

Poet Founder, Chairman and CEO Jeff Broin is the Broin recipient of the 10th annual George Washington Carver Award for Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology. The award was presented on July 24 during the 2017 Biotechnology Innovation Organization World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in Montréal, Québec, Canada. “It is an honor to receive this award,” Broin said. “George Washington Carver was a true visionary, recognizing the enormous potential of agriculture to meet all of our world’s needs. At Poet, we follow that vision, seeking new ways to produce biofuels from both starch and cellulose, as well as developing additional products and bioprocesses to replace petroleum-based products. We believe that the agricultural potential of the world is virtually untapped. The world is beginning to learn that we need to return to the sun, the soil and the seed.” The George Washington Carver Award also is sponsored by the Iowa Biotechnology Association.

16 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | AUGUST 2017


RFA director receives ASTM award Kelly Davis, the Renewable Fuels Association’s direcDavis tor of regulatory affairs, was given the Award of Excellence at ASTM International’s 2017 Committee D02 on Petroleum Products, Liquid Fuels, and Lubricants meeting in Boston. Davis serves as the D02 subcommittee editorial chairperson, where she reads and edits ballots and articulates ethanol industry quality issues. Davis brings 30 years of experience in the grain processing industry with emphasis in ethanol production for fuel, industrial and beverage purposes and has served as the director of regulatory affairs at RFA for more than four years.

Edeniq secures $5 million in growth equity Edeniq Inc., a cellulosic technology company, has secured commitments for $5 million in additional equity to support existing customer workload, rapidly grow the pipeline and roll out technology enhancements. Edeniq has raised more than $12 million in the past 12 months. In the coming year, Edeniq expects to more than double average customer cellulosic ethanol production through plant optimization and technology enhancements that are being introduced to customers as early as the third quarter of 2017. While customers are currently averaging just over 1 percent cellulosic ethanol and a 2 percent lift in total ethanol production, the best-performing plants have achieved rates of more than 2 percent cellulosic ethanol and a 3 percent lift in total ethanol production, according to the company.

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Husker Ag recognized for ethanol direct marketing

Blue Flint Ethanol celebrates 10 years

The Nebraska Ethanol Board recently recognized Seth Harder, general manager of Husker Ag in Plainview, Harder Nebraska, for his company’s success with fuel retailers. The company has contributed more than $250,000 to Nebraska’s fuel infrastructure by funding higher-blend ethanol pumps at stations across the state. Harder led a fuel-choice effort that resulted in 11 stations across northeast Nebraska and Yankton, South Dakota, installing ethanol blend pumps ranging from E15 to E85. “I encourage everyone in the industry to do what they can to help this industry succeed,” Harder says in a statement. “We all need to be involved to move past the mythical blend wall. The demand for ethanol is there, so we need to make sure we do everything we can to meet it.”

Blue Flint Ethanol in Underwood, North Dakota, celebrated a successful 10 years of operations in June. Located adjacent to Coal Creek Station, Blue Flint Ethanol is the first colocated, directly integrated ethanol plant in the world. Since Blue Flint began producing ethanol and dried distillers grains in February 2007, the plant has evolved into a biorefinery, integrating corn oil production and an E85 blending station. Blue Flint Ethanol, a 70 MMgy facility, has produced more than 650 million gallons of ethanol in its 10 years of operations. That ethanol is shipped via truck or rail to markets in the U.S. and Canada. Blue Flint Ethanol uses 24 million bushels of corn annually. In addition to ethanol, that corn is used to make 200,000 tons of distillers grains, enough to feed about 300,000 head of cattle and more than 2 million gallons of corn oil per year, which is marketed for use as a feedstock for the biodiesel production process.

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18 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | AUGUST 2017


US Grains Council hires global programs coordinator Kaitlyn Tykhonovska joined the U.S. Grains Council as global programs coordinaTykhonovska tor in Washington, D.C. In this role, she will handle details, logistics and follow-up needs associated with USGC programs and consultants. Cary Sifferath, USGC senior director of global programs, said Tykhonovska’s international experience, organizational skills and educational background are a good fit for the global programs team. Tykhonovska earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of Mississippi and a master’s degree in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University. Before joining USGC, she worked with Capitol Process Services as the national services coordinator, and for the Mason Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution as the technology and research intern.

Rayeman Elements adds biofuels division Rayeman Elements Inc. has added a biofuels division that will provide technology for biodiesel plants colocated with ethanol plants, in partnership with engineering firm Saola Energy LLC. The companies’ technology will use an enzymatic biodiesel process. The facilities also will include standard methanol recovery and distillation units. The standard plant size will be 2 MMgy, but the company says customized designs will be accommodated upon request. According to Rayeman Elements, the technology will help ethanol plants diversify their product offerings, while increasing the value of their corn oil stream.

CLARIFICATION: In the July feature article, “Sustainable Certification for the Ethanol Process,” it was reported that Marquis Energy is not on the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification list of producers certified for ethanol export. Marquis is listed as certified for corn, which corresponds to a certain amount of certified ethanol for export.


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INDUSTRY Ethanol Producer Magazine provides an update on 10 cellulosic ethanol projects around the world striving for continuous, large-scale production. By Susanne Retka Schill and Ann Bailey By Luke Geiver

Some things have changed in the U.S.’s cellulosic ethanol sector in the past year—two new companies have emerged to pick up cellulosic ethanol development from high-profile projects in Hugoton, Kansas, and Vero Beach, Florida. Other things seem to never change. Though several commer-

cial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants have completed construction and held grand openings, none have produced the fuel in double-digit, multi-million-gallon volumes. According to U.S. EPA data, 1.3 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol generated D3 RINs through the first four months of this year, on pace to match the 3.8 million gallons produced in all of 2016. While the first-of-their-kind cellulosic facilities are approaching the end of extended commissioning and full production, all are hoping the market opens up. “The most immediate challenge to cellulosic biofuels in the 20 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | AUGUST 2017

U.S. is the Reid vapor pressure limitations on E15 sales during the summer months,” says Jeff Pinkerman, chairman of the Poet-DSM board of directors. “Cellulosic and other advanced biofuels need to see that consumerdriven market growth in order to have the confidence to move forward with building more facilities. It’s hard to predict the rollout of cellulosic biofuels until we see that market open up.” Jan Koninckx, global business director for biofuels at DuPont Industrial Biosciences, remains optimistic, despite the policy uncertainty. “We continue to expect that once the technology is demonstrated, the potential for substantial growth in volume rises quickly, as long as policy is consistent and implemented with confidence.” Congress enacted the Renewable Fuel Standard for good reason, he says, “to provide the policy that would incentivize companies to risk their own capital and brainpower to solve a huge problem that would benefit the country and the world.” Both DuPont and Poet-DSM spokesmen say their companies are actively engaged in

championing the RFS and related policies to keep the U.S. at the forefront of global renewable fuels production and use. This month, Ethanol Producer Magazine compiled updates from these and other developers on their cellulosic ethanol projects. Here’s what we found.

DuPont Cellulosic Ethanol LLC

Koninckx reports the plant in Nevada, Iowa, is processing feedstock as it reaches the final stages of the commissioning process. “Early production will follow soon. In anticipation of producing and shipping commercial volumes of fuel, we’ve hired additional people at the site and we have been training them during the past several months. Additionally, we are actively exploring additional partners and potential licensees in various places in the world.” When asked about the lengthy commissioning process—this summer marks two years since construction was completed— Koninckx says, “As with any new-to-the-world

COMMISSIONING STAGE: DuPont Cellulosic Ethanol LLC is processing feedstock in Nevada, Iowa, in its final stages of the commissioning process. PHOTO: DUPONT

technology, there are unknowns and unexpected challenges. Throughout the commissioning process, we have uncovered elements of the plant that need to be tweaked in order to meet our safety and performance standards. As one of the world’s first cellulosic plants, we are cognizant that our plant will set industry safety and performance standards by which the next wave of cellulosic biorefineries will be built, and we fully intend to set that bar high.” At full capacity, the 30 MMgy plant will process 375,000 dry tons of corn stover, harvested from around 190,000 acres within 30 miles of the plant. After size reduction, the biomass is pretreated using high heat and chemicals before processing with DuPont’s propriety enzymes and microorganism. The lignin coproduct is dried and used as boiler fuel. DuPont’s agreement with Procter & Gamble to use the plant’s cellulosic ethanol to replace first-generation ethanol in Tide laundry detergent is still in place, Koninckx reports. DuPont’s merger with Dow will not affect the industrial bioscience team’s work on cellulosic

ethanol, nor its work on biobutanol and other biobased chemicals, he says.

Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuels LLC—Project Liberty

Construction of an on-site enzyme manufacturing (OSM) facility is expected to start this summer at Project Liberty in Emmetsburg, Iowa—probably the best sign that the extended commissioning for the cellulosic ethanol plant is coming to a close. “We recently installed new technology in our pretreatment process and hit the 70 gallon per bone-dry ton conversion rate,” Pinkerman says. “I think the OSM announcement demonstrates our confidence in not only on-site enzyme manufacturing, but the entire package, from feedstock to pump.” Inaugurated in a grand opening ceremony in August, 2014, Project Liberty is expected to covert 770 tons of biomass per day at full capacity to produce ethanol at a rate of 20 MMgy, ramping up to 25 MMgy. The addition

of on-site enzyme manufacturing is expected to cut costs associated with downstream processing, stabilizers and other chemicals used in transport. Furthermore, new enzymes developed by DSM are expected to improve effectiveness of the enzyme mix, further reducing production costs. The Poet-DSM process includes a new pretreatment technology developed internally after a third-party pretreatment regimen proved unsatisfactory. The pretreatment process and enzymes break down the cellulose from corn stover into fermentable sugars, which are then converted to ethanol. The waste products are separated into solids and liquids and sent to a solid-fuel boiler or anaerobic digester to produce more renewable fuel.

Alliance Bio-Products

Within the past year, IneosBio announced it was ending its cellulosic ethanol development and selling its 8 MMgy Vero Beach, Florida, facility. Alliance Bio-Products, a subsidiary of Alliance Bioenergy, stepped up to make a bid. Company Chairman Daniel AUGUST 2017 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | 21


de Liege says a private placement fundraising round was completed in early June, and with the required equity and debt in hand, a final bid was placed on the Florida facility. USDA approved the purchase in July. De Liege says the facility’s biomass handling and back-end ethanol distillation units will be useable, while the gasification unit will be replaced with Alliance’s cellulose-to-sugar (CTS) reactor. The facility should be operational in 2018. Alliance began scaling up its CTS process in 2015. “What we found was the process actually got more efficient,” de Liege says. “It got easier the larger it got. The reason is it’s a mechanical process—a new chemistry—where we’re dealing with mechanical force, time and temperature.” In the mechanocatalytic process, after size reduction, biomass is fed into a reactor with a solid catalyst. The reactor is adapted from the ball mills used in the mining industry to crush and pulverize rock. The catalyst is based on common, widely available kaolinite clay. The acidic clay-based catalyst, combined with the impact forces in the ball mill, breaks down the chemical bonds in cellulosic material, releasing water to complete hydrolysis, producing simple sugars for fuels or chemicals.

SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS: The commissioning process at DuPont’s Nevada, Iowa, cellulosic ethanol plant has revealed areas that could be optimized, says Jan Koninckx, global business director for biofuels at DuPont Industrial Biosciences. PHOTO: DUPONT

De Liege says 20 to 25 pounds of dry biomass will produce a gallon of ethanol. A commercial-scale reactor was tested at Longwood, Florida. The modular design calls for three reactors in a process train—one loading, one operating and one unloading—to create a continuous process capable of handling 250 tons per day. In Florida, Alliance has a nocost feedstock agreement in place with Indian River County for vegetative waste. In a news release announcing the private placement offering, Alliance says it expects to produce cellulosic ethanol for less than $1 per gallon, starting with 8 MMgy at Vero Beach, doubling after

the first year before maximizing capacity at 34 MMgy in 2021. Early in June, the company announced Earth’s Renewable Energy LLC in Newport Beach, California, was licensing CTS technology for a planned facility in Bakersfield, California, to process almond and pistachio trees and hulls into C5/C6 sugars, with an offtake agreement with Chem-Energy Corp., which will create fine chemicals and other bioproducts.

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POET FERMENTATION: Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuels LLC—Project Liberty in Emmetsburg, PROCESS PROTOTYPE: Alliance Bio-Products’ Iowa, has been in an extended commissioning phase, but construction of an on-site enzyme cellulose-to-sugar process was tested at commercial scale manufacturing facility signals that the company is moving forward. Pictured are fermentation in Longwood, Florida. Pictured is a prototype of the reactor. tanks at the site. PHOTO: ALLIANCE BIO-PRODUCTS PHOTO: POET

court approved Synata Bio Inc.’s $48.5 million bid for Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass in Hugoson, Kansas. Court documents say the sale included the 25 MMgy nameplate cellulosic production plant and electric cogeneration plant, and 400 acres of land. It also included furnishings, equipment, supplies, vehicles and feedstock inventory. The intellectual property contained in the process and license agreements were excluded. Synata Bio was formed in 2015. The company’s directors have released statements saying they are working on early stage invest-

ment opportunities with True North Venture Partners. Synata Bio’s address indicates it is housed in the former headquarters of Coskata in Warrenville, Illinois, and filings indicate Synata Bio holds Coskata patents. Company executives declined to be interviewed for this article.


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demolition wastes to ethanol in California. Aemetis currently has a 60 MMgy ethanol plant in California that uses about 20 million bushels per year of corn and milo from the Midwest. The LanzaTech technology will allow Aemetis to use feedstock sources closer to the plant, lowering costs, says Aemetis President and CEO Eric McAfee. Aemetis is the first licensee of the LanzaTech technology in North America. LanzaTech did not respond to interview requests for this article.

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Enerkem built and installed a new ethanol unit at its facility in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and will begin producing secondgeneration ethanol in the coming weeks, says Pierre Boisseau, senior director of communications and marketing. Enerkem Alberta Biofuels is a commercial, singleline methanol-ethanol plant located next to the Edmonton Waste Management Center. Boisseau says the plant annually uses 100,000 metric tons of noncompostable, nonrecyclable municipal solid waste for its feedstock. The plant met all operational milestones and is certified through the International Methanol Producers and Consumers Association and the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification. Enerkem also is in discussions with city, county and state officials for a similar plant in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Boisseau says.

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Iogen Corp. and sugarcane producer Raízen launched a $105 million advanced biofuel facility in Piracicaba, Sao Paul, Brazil, in July 2015. The 10 MMgy plant converts biogas from feedstocks such as sugar and straw into cellulosic biofuel. The plant is the first large-scale commercial implementation of Iogen’s cellulosic ethanol technology, developed and proven at its Ottowa demonstration facility. When the plant in Piracicaba opened, Iogen said the milestone proved the commercial viability of cellulosic biofuels. Brian Foody, Iogen CEO, recently told Ethanol Producer Magazine that the company is continuing to fine-tune the overall operation of the plant. Raízen says it intends to deploy Iogen’s technology in seven more sugarcane mills.

Beta Renewables

Beta Renewables, based in Tortona, Italy, owns the Proesa technology, a process that produces biofuels and chemical intermediates from agricultural wastes and nonfood feedstocks. Beta Renewables manages

a second-generation 13 MMgy cellulosic ethanol plant in Crescentino, Italy. Feedstocks for Proesa installations are based on local characteristics of the projects being developed, according to the company. Beta Renewables’ media spokesperson did not respond to requests for information from Ethanol Producer Magazine for this article.


Prospects for a cellulosic ethanol plant to be built as part of the Maabjerg Energy Center in Denmark had a breakthrough investment this spring, says Jorgen Udby, Inbicon’s board chairman. Inbicon, owned by Dong Energy, has a lignocellulose biomass conversion technology. The project, announced several years ago, would build a cellulosic ethanol plant alongside a biogas plant and biomass-fired cogeneration plant. London-based investment firm Pioneer Point Partners confirmed in a letter of intent this past spring it was ready to invest up to 160 million euro in the plant. But Pioneer Point Partners specified that the political framework and long-term government support must first be settled, according to the company news release. MEC received 39 million euro in funding from the European Commission’s NER300 program in 2014, but two years later the project was put on hold “as a consequence of not being able to find a political majority that would support the idea of providing public guarantees for the investment,” according to MEC. Plans are for annual production of 80 million gallons of ethanol, 50 million cubic meters of biogas, and electricity and district heat production capable of serving 25,000 households. MEC will process 300,000 tons of straw, 800,000 tons of biomass for biogas and 100,000 tons of waste.

and produces 1 million liters of ethanol annually. Ravinda Utgikar, Praj spokesman, says more work is underway to add other renewable fuels and chemicals to the company’s products. Praj has signed memorandums of understanding to serve as a technology partner to oil marketing companies IOCL and BPCL. India blends 4 percent ethanol derived from sugarcane molasses, which is consid-

ered first-generation ethanol in India, Utgikar notes. The government is poised to set up second-generation plants to achieve the target of 20 percent blending by 2022. Author: Susanne Retka Schill Freelance Journalist Coauthor: Ann Bailey Freelance Journalist


Praj has a second-generation ethanol technology that features a biochemical process using thermal pretreatment, followed by enzymatic hydrolysis. The company inaugurated its integrated biorefinery demonstration plant for renewable fuels near Pune, India, in May. It is India’s first integrated biorefinery demonstration plant AUGUST 2017 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | 25


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Challenges and POSSIBILITIES

Presentations and trade show conversations at the 2017 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo centered around technology, policy barriers and hope for the future of the ethanol industry. By Lisa Gibson

On a stage in front of a packed auditorium, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen acknowledged that the U.S. ethanol industry has some challenges to overcome in current policy structures. But he urged team-

work and perseverance, while expressing hope and positivity for timely changes such as the Reid vapor pressure waiver for E15. Dinneen was the keynote speaker for the 33rd annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo, held June 19 to 22 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The event drew about 2,200 attendees, including more than 300 exhibitors. It was colocated with the National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo. 28 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | AUGUST 2017

“We know that the challenges before us are large,” Dinneen told his audience. “We also know that unless we’re working together, our chances for success are greatly reduced. You need to continue making the juice. You need to continue to work the way that you always have. You’re doing your job. We need Washington to do its job.” The FEW kicked off with Ethanol 101, a day of presentations geared toward fresh faces in the ethanol industry, and ended with a tour of Poet Biorefining in Lake Crystal, Minnesota. In between, attendees took in panel discussions focused on production and operations, leadership and financial management, coproducts and product diversification, and infrastructure and market development, as well as NABCE’s biofuels-focused panels.

Exports were a hot topic throughout the event, made even more relevant by Mexico’s announcement days before that it would increase its ethanol blend allowance to 10 percent. On the heels of that news, a general session panelist participated in the discussion via Skype, live from Mexico City. It’s a $1.2 billion new market for ethanol, said Kristy Moore, principal with KMoore Consulting, before signing off to get back to work. The 2017 FEW attracted more than 540 biofuel, ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel and biochemical producers from around the globe, by far the highest figure since records have been kept. Here’s just a snapshot of all the excitement at this year’s show.

James Knight, a partner at MSW Consulting Inc., cuts the ceremonial ribbon June 19 to officially open the trade show of the 33rd annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo in Minneapolis. Tim Portz (right), BBI International’s vice president of content, emcees and MSW Consulting’s Wayne Michelle watches the ceremony. MSW Consulting was the official sponsor of the evening’s welcome reception. PHOTO: JEFFREY SCHMIEG, GAMUT ONE STUDIOS

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, addresses FEW attendees as the event’s keynote speaker. Dinneen urged policy action and praised the ethanol industry for its work. PHOTO: JEFFREY SCHMIEG, GAMUT ONE STUDIOS

Tom Bryan, president of BBI International, delivers a welcome address to kick off the 33rd annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo, held June 19 to 22 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. PHOTO: JEFFREY SCHMIEG, GAMUT ONE STUDIOS


Susanne Retka Schill (left), retired senior editor of Ethanol Producer Magazine, and Tom Bryan (right), president of BBI International, present Geoff Cooper, senior vice president of the Renewable Fuels Association, with the High Octane Award at the 33rd annual FEW.

Tom Bryan (right) welcomes Award of Excellence winner Dennis Bayrock, global director of fermentation research in the Phibro Ethanol Performance Group, to the stage. Susanne Retka Schill prepares to present Bayrock with his award. PHOTO: JEFFREY SCHMIEG, GAMUT ONE STUDIOS


Kristy Moore, principal of KMoore Consulting, joins the first general session panel at the 2017 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo in Minneapolis via Skype from Mexico City. Moore traveled to Mexico a few days earlier, upon word that the country would allow ethanol blends of up to 10 percent. Fellow panelists for "Exports Update: Where and How Ethanol is Finding Traction in the Global Market," are, from left: moderator Tim Portz, vice president of content for BBI International; Geoff Cooper, senior vice president of the Renewable Fuels Association; and Jim Grey, CEO of IGPC Ethanol, located near Toronto. PHOTO: JEFFREY SCHMIEG, GAMUT ONE STUDIOS

30 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | AUGUST 2017

Discussion during the second general session panel, "Surveying the Industryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Best Opportunities to Grow Ethanol Demand Here at Home," centered largely around the push for the Reid vapor pressure waiver for E15. Panelists, from left, are: moderator Tim Portz, vice president of content for BBI International; Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy; and Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol. PHOTO: JEFFREY SCHMIEG, GAMUT ONE STUDIOS

The 33rd annual FEW, held June 19 to 22 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, featured 302 exhibitors. PHOTO: JEFFREY SCHMIEG, GAMUT ONE STUDIOS

AUGUST 2017 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | 31


Marina Chow, senior scientist for DuPont Industrial Biosciences, delivers her presentation during "The Future is Fiber" at the colocated National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo. PHOTO: JEFFREY SCHMIEG, GAMUT ONE STUDIOS

Rayeman Elements used a corner of the trade show floor to showcase its equipment. The company has developed a dryer technology for ethanol plants. PHOTO: JEFFREY SCHMIEG, GAMUT ONE STUDIOS

Jason Lanham and Steve Lacombe of BetaTec Hop Products discuss the company’s offerings with attendees. PHOTO: JEFFREY SCHMIEG, GAMUT ONE STUDIOS

32 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | AUGUST 2017

The industry tours capped the event, taking attendees out to Poet Biorefining in Lake Crystal, Minnesota. PHOTO: TIM PORTZ, BBI INTERNATIONAL

Tour attendees head out to the Poet Biorefining Lake Crystal ethanol plant to get a close-up view of the process. PHOTO: TIM PORTZ, BBI INTERNATIONAL


AUGUST 2017 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | 33


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Interest in cellulosic ethanol from corn fiber is piqued, as technology providers improve on their processes, increasing revenue stream possibilities for producers. By Lisa Gibson By Luke Geiver

Some producers and technology developers in the ethanol industry say cellulosic ethanol from corn fiber will someday be as commonplace as corn oil extraction—it’ll be a given. The concept has its critics inside and outside the

ethanol industry, but a few companies are forging ahead with what they say are revolutionary technologies to make ethanol from corn fiber a reality. Edeniq, headquartered in Visalia, California, announced in June that it had raised $12 million in the previous year to optimize ethanol production from corn fiber at plants using its in-situ Pathway Technology. It’s the only process on the market that converts corn fiber to ethanol in the existing corn ethanol process, then measures cellulosic versus corn ethanol on the back end to qualify for D3 Renewable Identification Numbers. “Our approach is very simple: You do it through the existing plant,” says Brian Thome, president and CEO of Edeniq. “Through our use of cellulosic enzymes and our ability to measure changes that occur, we can actually tell the plant which gallons coming out of the back end are cellulosic and which ones are not.”

36 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | AUGUST 2017

RESEARCH RESULTS: Michael Kim, analytical chemist, and Marie Mosher, research assistant, work together in Edeniqâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lab. PHOTO: EDENIQ

AUGUST 2017 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | 37


IN THE LAB: Edeniq is prepared to improve on its in-situ Pathway Technology for ethanol from corn ďŹ ber. Pictured are David Zavaleta and Janet Bello Morales, both Edeniq lab technicians. PHOTO: EDENIQ

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The cellulase enzyme converts the corn kernel fiber into C6 sugars, which are then fermented in the existing process with the starch, Thome explains. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a no-capex solution, he says. The only investment is the purchase of the Edeniq enzyme and the D3 registration. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re very blessed with a direct advantage over our competitors.â&#x20AC;? The process saves the upfront investment of millions of dollars worth of bolt-on equipment, he adds. Pathway is installed at 27 plants, four of which are registered for D3 RINs, seven are in the process of registering, six are collecting information and four have Edeniq on-site for testing. Cam Cast, chief operating officer for Edeniq, says all plants that have filed for D3 registration with Edeniqâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s process so far have been approved. The first customer was approved for D3 RINs in September, and Edeniq has gone from â&#x20AC;&#x153;0 to 60â&#x20AC;? in data collection, fundraising, and now, preparation for process improvements, Thome says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We now have enough data from all of these plants to be able to go in and look at the cumulative effectsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;what works best, what doses of enzymes, what operational changes, etc., etc.â&#x20AC;? Customers are seeing an average of 1 percent cellulosic ethanol and a 2 percent lift in ethanol production, according to Edeniq. The best-performing plants have seen 2 percent cellulosic ethanol and a 3 percent lift. Thome says Edeniq is continuing to improve its process and 2 percent cellulosic production is a low-hanging fruit. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is certainly going to be higher than that by the time everybodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s done.â&#x20AC;? Jeff Altena, director of operations and controller of Siouxland Energy Cooperative in Sioux Center, Iowa, says Edeniqâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

Pathway Technology has yielded 1 percent cellulosic ethanol and a 2 percent lift in production. Siouxland has been using the technology since November and is registered for D3 RINs. “We’ve been researching different methods of adding value for quite some time,” Altena says. “I think every plant in the country does. … You have to look at the technologies that are out there and say, ‘OK. Is this something that will integrate into what we’re already doing, and what’s our end goal?’” Edeniq was among a few corn-fiber processing technologies Siouxland considered, but it was the only one that guaranteed increased efficiency, Altena says. It also had the lowest price tag, he adds. “It’s done what they told us it was going to do.”

ENZYME AT WORK: Siouxland Energy Cooperative in Sioux City, Iowa, has been using the Edeniq enzyme since November 2016. Pictured is the enzyme tank. PHOTO: ECOENGINEERS

Fiber Separation

A number of other technologies are working their way up to commercial scale in the corn fiber-to-ethanol sector, most boasting a 10 percent increase in ethanol production and all separating the fiber either before or after fermentation. Fluid Quip Process Technologies in Springfield, Ohio, is adapting wet mill technologies to the dry mill to separate components of the corn kernel, including fiber. The company has technologies that extract the fiber pre- and post-fermentation. Tests show the front-end process yields about 90 gallons of ethanol per ton of fiber, and 85 to 90 gallons for the back-end separation process, according to the company. The D3Max technology uses the cooked wet cake from the ethanol process as a feedstock. Mark Yancey, chief technology officer, says the demonstration plant at Ace Ethanol in Stanley, Wisconsin, is successful and the company hopes to have its first commercial plant in operation by December 2018. ICM Inc.’s Gen 1.5 corn fiber-toethanol process is prefaced by its selective milling and fiber separation technologies to maximize fiber recovery. The Gen 1.5 design employs front-end separation of fiber. ICM, based in Colwich, Kansas, says it has run multiple 1,000-hour fermentations at full production scale—585,000 gallons. Meanwhile, Quad County Corn Processors near Galva, Iowa, takes the title of AUGUST 2017 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | 39




In-Situ Processing: 1 to 3 percent

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In-Situ Processing: $0 to $300,000

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In-Situ Processing: 3 to 6 months

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In-Situ Processing: Process diagram; process description; peer review of non-VCSB lab methods; initial converted fraction for first 500,000 gallons of D3 production; overall fuel yield; cellulosic converted fraction; methods for determining cellulosic converted fraction; third-party engineering review and registration update

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the largest cellulosic ethanol producer under the Renewable Fuel Standard, as well as the first to commercialize ethanol from corn kernel fiber. The plant announced in September 2016 that it had surpassed 5 million gallons. And on the enzyme and yeast side, Novozymes and DuPont are leading the way, providing updated and optimized organisms. Novozymes announced in June that it added yeast to its bioenergy portfolio. Peter Halling, Novozymesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; vice president of commercial biofuels, says yeast strains in ethanol production have remained largely static, and the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new strains will help revolutionize them. Dupont says its corn fiber-to-ethanol enzyme can increase corn oil yield by up to 70 percent, in addition to increasing ethanol production by 10 percent.

In-Situ Vs. Separate Processing

The major differences between in-situ and separate processing are in the cellulosic ethanol lift, the requirements for registration, and cost, says Jim Ramm, director of engineering for EcoEngineers, an Ohio-

based clean energy regulation advisory firm. An in-situ process can yield 1 to 3 percent cellulosic ethanol for D3 RINs, versus 7 to 10 percent with separated processing. In-situ also requires recertification annually, or every 500,000 gallons, he says. But Ramm notes that in-situ does have a low capital cost and is a good way to transition into ethanol production from corn fiber. “It can be a way to get your feet wet in the D3 kernel fiber space without risk.” Producers can coprocess first, establish their marketing methods for D3 kernel fiber and then decide if they want to invest in separate processing to achieve yields of 7 to 10 percent. Altena says the main draws to Edeniq’s in-situ process are the price, ease of integration into the existing system and flexibility. Because it didn’t change the existing process, it does not eliminate any future options for more efficiency or production, Altena says. Overall, both pathways show promise, Ramm says. “I think they’re both good methods. Certainly, the economics seem to be there. The potential RIN revenues and energy credit revenues justify both. You can make a return on investment argument for both of them.”

Edeniq’s Pathway Technology is the leading NO-CAPEX cellulosic ethanol technology

Shifting the Mindset

For an industry producing 15 billion gallons of ethanol, a mere 1 percent increase would yield another 150 million gallons. Bumped up to 2 percent, it reaches 300 million. The value of those gallons, at about $1.50 a piece, and D3 RINs at $2 to $2.30, is “tremendous,” Cast says. “That shifted mindset is really critical for our industry,” Thome says. “It could happen very quickly. That shift will hopefully help this industry a lot, expanding margins and profitability.” Cellulosic RINs make up less than 2 percent of total RIN population. Within D3 RINs, cellulosic constitutes 2 percent, the rest being from biogas, Cast cites. “Our goal here, is within the next year, that 50 percent of D3 RINs will be from cellulosic ethanol, due to our technology,” he says. Thome compares corn fiber ethanol to corn oil extraction at ethanol plants, saying the growth will happen, but the pace is uncertain. Ramm agrees, saying ethanol from corn fiber will be universally accepted. “It’s really the same idea. It’s another feedstock coming in the same bushel of corn, so it’s got a lot of similarities to corn oil.” A policy shift in favor of D3 and a stronger forecast for renewable volume obligations certainly would help the corn fiber-to-ethanol sector grow, Ramm adds. “We really need to take a leadership position with this,” Thome says of the transition into widespread ethanol production from corn fiber. “There’s a lot to be gained by the industry as a whole and we’re excited to be a part of that.” Author: Lisa Gibson Managing Editor, Ethanol Producer Magazine 701.738.4920

Edeniq to double customer cellulosic ethanol production over the next year z Edeniq’s Pathway Technology using existing fermenter and distillation equipment has proven to produce additional cellulosic ethanol yield. z Customer ethanol plants have seen a 3% ethanol lift, over a 2% cellulosic conversion, and up to 15% corn oil yield improvement. z Our EPA approved validation and recalculation services provide a turnkey solution for producing D3 RINs. Edeniq Pathway - Contact Us Today! 402-935-3083 AUGUST 2017 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | 41

Ironically, the latest breakthrough in the field of energy, is a field. While most innovation begins with the seed of an idea, the greatest advance in the making of ethanol starts with a seed. The first corn seed technology specifically developed to increase the efficiency of ethanol production, Enogen® corn can reduce costs by up to 10% and helps generate more ethanol per bushel than any corn feedstock ever grown. Recently named AgriMarketing’s Product of the Year, Enogen is definitely making waves in the field of energy.

© 2016 Syngenta. Enogen®, the Alliance Frame, the Purpose Icon, and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368). MW 1ENG6003_8.5 x 10.875 1/16


MONITOR AND CONTROL: Bob Jewell (left), energy systems chief for Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co. in Benson, Minnesota, discusses biofilm monitoring and control with Solenis’ Andrew Ledlie (center), marketing manager, and Jim Lauridsen (right), account manager. PHOTO: SOLENIS


Biofilm on heat transfer surfaces in ethanol plant cooling water systems can cause corrosion, reducing efficiency and equipment lifespan. By Andrew Ledlie

CONTRIBUTION: The claims and statements made in this article belong exclusively to the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ethanol Producer Magazine or its advertisers. All questions pertaining to this article should be directed to the author(s).

44 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | AUGUST 2017

BIOFILM Biofilm in the cooling water system of a fuel ethanol plant can be problematic when it becomes insulative or contributes to corrosion. When plant manag-


90% 80%

Heat Resistance

ers miss the warning signs, plants become vulnerable to production bottlenecks, unplanned downtime for repairs and higher operating costs. Biofilm is a slimy deposit formed by bacteria and can proliferate in as little as one week. On heat transfer surfaces, such as the plates in plate-and-frame heat exchangers, biofilm acts like insulation, reducing the ability of the cooling tower water to cool the process in mash and fermentation coolers and in ethanol condensers. Biofilm can be four times more insulating per micron of thickness than typical cooling water mineral scales. A layer of biofilm just 20 micrometers thick—thinner than a piece of transparent tape—can result in a significant loss of heat transfer. When biofilm forms on cooling tower fill, it diminishes the evaporation rate. The

Reduction of Heat Transfer Kaolin CaSO4

70% 60% 50%


40% 30%

AI 2O3

20% 10% 0%



2.00 mm

Film Thickness Insulating Capabilities of Biofilm and Typical Mineral Scales SOURCE: SOLENIS

resulting reduced cooling capacity and efficiency is particularly harmful during the summer when systems are already under higher cooling loads because of high temperatures. Consequently, many plants either

scale back production or run chillers to compensate. Persistent biofilm can result in less-efficient overall production, as well as increased energy consumption and carbon intensity, as cooling tower fans and pumps

IT REALLY IS ABOUT WHO YOU KNOW All the bright ideas in the world don’t matter if you can’t get your hands on the right technology. That’s why Trident Automation is one of only 11 companies in the United States recognized as a Siemens Solution Partner. We do this because our customers depend on fast turn around and technology that makes production easy and efficient. Find out how our customized solutions are making a bottom line difference for ethanol plants. Visit



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F O R C O M P L E T E P RO D U C T A N D S E R V I C E I N F O R M AT I O N , V I S I T T R I D E N TAU TO M AT I O N .C O M O R C A L L 9 2 0 . 7 5 9 . 7 4 7 7

AUGUST 2017 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | 45


COOLING CORROSION: A section of steel pipe taken from the cooling tower system of a 10-year-old fuel ethanol plant shows the signs of microbiologically influenced corrosion.

PIPE PITTING: Once the pipe is cleaned, the severity of the pitting is apparent. PHOTO: SOLENIS


are forced to run harder to deliver the same amount of cooling as a clean system would. Beyond reduced efficiencies, biofilm causes microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC). Metal surfaces become pitted as the acid produced by the organisms in the biofilm acts directly on the metal surface in concentrated, localized areas. This type of corrosion is all too familiar in ethanol plants, where leaks and failed heat exchangers can become a costly problem in as few as 10 years, despite the fact that the

46 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | AUGUST 2017

lifespan for this equipment should be 20 to 25 years.

Removal Challenge

Once biofilm takes hold, removing it is difficult. Unfortunately, the traditional chlorine approach does little to remediate the problem. Most ethanol plants are limited in the amount of chlorine that can be used to control bacteria for two reasons: They take cooling tower blowdown back into the front end of the plant, so the contents of

the cooling water could end up in the dried distillers grains; or they directly discharge the blowdown into a ditch or creek, so they are limited by their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. “Biofilm fouling is something I have been concerned about for years,” says Bob Jewell, energy systems chief at Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co. in Benson, Minnesota. “Unfortunately, we were limited in what we could do with biocide alternatives to chlorine because of our NPDES permit. I


DATA ON DEMAND: The OnGuard 3B analyzer provides a real-time analysis of the Solenis biocide’s performance. PHOTO: SOLENIS

wanted to address biofilm before our new cooling tower was installed and it just so happened that our permit was due to be renewed at the same time.” The CVEC plant installed a new cooling tower in the fall of 2016 and with it, employed the Solenis Biosperse XD3899 microbiocide to control biofilm, improving

system cleanliness and reducing corrosion potential. Solenis also assisted CVEC in updating its NPDES permit. Jewell also wanted to monitor the effectiveness of its chemical treatment program, an option offered with Solenis’ OnGuard 3B analyzer. The device provides a real-time, in-situ view of the cleanliness of

a cooling water system and the effectiveness of the biocide program in controlling biofilm. The device employs an advanced ultrasonic probe that detects biofilm growth in cooling systems earlier and faster than any other commercially available technology. The 3B analyzer has enabled plants to reduce costs and downtime and to optimize chemical use by taking corrective action before biofilm can negatively affect process equipment. Solenis calls the combination of its chemistry, automation and service ClearPoint Biofilm Monitoring and Control. “From what I have seen so far, Solenis’ ClearPoint program is performing very well and meeting my high expectations,” Jewell says, one year after employing the system. “It’s definitely much better than our prior biofilm control program.” The program helps alleviate his worries about biofilm and corrosion, enabling him to focus on other areas of the ethanol-production process that require his attention, he says. Author: Andrew Ledlie Biorefining Marketing Manager Solenis

AUGUST 2017 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | 47

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FAILURE ANALYSIS We are experienced in root cause failure analysis of ethanol plant equipment Economizers and boiler systems heat exchangers, evaporators, piping, pumps and valves, distillers grains dryers Failure modes include: Tension, shear, creep, fatigue, fretting, corrosion, erosion, wear, cavitation.


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2017 August Ethanol Producer Magazine  

The Cellulosic Issue Plus: Maintenance/Cleaning

2017 August Ethanol Producer Magazine  

The Cellulosic Issue Plus: Maintenance/Cleaning