Dry-mill ethanol producer Poet recently announced a successful test of the production of cellulosic ethanol from corn cobs. The company made the announcement along with a statement announcing their intentions to use cobs and corn fiber as the feedstock for a commercial cellulosic ethanol production facility jointly funded with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
According to Poet researchers, the fiber that comes from the company's fractionation process will provide 40% of the cellulosic feedstock from corn kernels already being processed in its facilities, meaning that nearly half of the cellulosic feedstock necessitates no additional planting, harvest, storage or transportation needs. POET has also produced cellulosic ethanol from fiber, the husk of the kernel, which is extracted through its proprietary BFRAC fractionation process.
The cellulosic project that POET is jointly funding with the DOE will convert an existing 50 million gallon per year (mgpy) dry-mill ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa into a commercial cellulosic biorefinery. Once complete, the facility will produce 125 mgpy, 25% of which will be from cellulosic feedstock. By adding cellulosic production to an existing grain ethanol plant, POET will be able to produce 11% more ethanol from a bushel of corn and 27% more from an acre of corn, while cutting back on fossil fuel consumption and decreasing water usage by 24%.
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