Of the many refined biofuel products today, ethanol is easily one of the most utilized with over 14 billion gallons consumed and almost every gasoline pump throughout America containing at least 10 percent of the product. Largely fermented from corn grain feedstock, ethanol tends to have fluctuating profitability due to a minimum corn market price built on short term contracts and closely related gasoline prices. Cellulosic feedstock however can also produce ethanol, but is generally not in competition with other commodity markets. This reason alone is enough to consider incorporating cellulosic technologies in your biomass business.
There are a number of ways to produce cellulosic ethanol, but two possibilities that are often overlooked include the addition to or the conversion of existing corn ethanol facilities. Largely driven on sugars or other carbon platforms, cellulosic feedstock is converted to sugars after pretreatment using enzymes and are then fermented in much the same way as corn starch/sugar and sometimes even combined. Other process steps cellulosic feedstock can have in common with corn ethanol includes its enzymes, fermentation, water and energy recovery, utilities, distillation, material handling, and other refining synergies, making it relatively easy to market and administer. Significant capital equipment can be shared in both strategies interchangeably while the conversion can benefit other fuels like green gasoline or four carbon fuels.
Genera Energy keeps an open mind regarding refined products and related technologies as a whole. Whether a dedicated cellulosic facility or an addition to a corn ethanol plant, a wide variety of technologies are important to grow the industry. If you are interested in adding cellulosic technologies to your existing corn ethanol plant, let’s talk! By developing a consistent biomass supply chain strategy, you can turn the idea of utilizing cellulosic technologies into a reality for your existing corn ethanol plant. Our Supply ASSURE™ feedstock management system can better help you utilize cellulosic technologies through a proprietary organization of harvesting, aggregation, storage and transportation. By utilizing such technologies, ethanol producers can optimize their biomass supply chain strategy and gain long term pricing stability.