Advanced and Cellulosic Ethanol

Cellulose refers to the material comprising the cell walls of any green plant and is the most common organic compound found on Earth

Cellulosic ethanol is ethanol produced by turning the sugars in cellulose into ethanol. Advanced ethanol, by comparison, is sourced from non-cellulosic feedstocks like sugars and starches other than corn starch.

All sources of ethanol will be required to provide the nation with the kind of energy options we need. 

Cellulosic ethanol presents an exciting and tangible economic opportunity for ethanol producers, as the fuel’s greater greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions result in a price premium under the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) and the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  

However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must act to address questions pertaining to corn kernel fiber D3 eligibility under the RFS. Producers are ready and able to produce corn fiber ethanol and are growing increasingly frustrated by the slow progress to approve pathways and registrations at the EPA.

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Corn Fiber Technology

Today’s ethanol plant operates much like a chemical refinery

Corn Fiber Technology

Today’s ethanol plant operates much like a chemical refinery

Because of improvements in production efficiencies and the use of “new” feedstocks, today’s ethanol plant operates much like a chemical refinery, able to produce multiple renewable fuels and products. Some ethanol plants are producing biodiesel and renewable diesel from corn distillers oil, but the largest impact has been in corn kernel fiber production.

The addition of “bolt-on” technologies has allowed producers to expand yields by processing ethanol from corn fiber, a cellulosic portion of the grain. New corn fiber technology allows a greater portion of the corn kernel – the fiber – to be converted to ethanol, allowing ethanol plants to increase yields while producing both cellulosic ethanol and starch ethanol from the same feedstock. Unleashing corn kernel fiber ethanol production could result in existing ethanol plants producing hundreds of millions of gallons of cellulosic ethanol from this single stream of agricultural residue in the near term.

Cellulosic ethanol presents an exciting and tangible economic opportunity for ethanol producers, as the fuel’s greater greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions result in a price premium under the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) and the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must act to address questions pertaining to corn kernel fiber D3 eligibility under the RFS. Producers are ready and able to produce corn fiber ethanol and are growing increasingly frustrated by the slow progress to approve pathways and registrations at EPA.

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