Galva, IA coop breaks ground on cellulosic ethanol plant - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Galva, IA coop breaks ground on cellulosic ethanol plant

GALVA, Iowa (KTIV) -

A Siouxland cooperative is getting into the cellulosic ethanol game.

Quad County Corn Processors broke ground on an $8.5 million bio refinery in Galva, Iowa today.

The plant will be built next to the company's 35-million-gallon per year ethanol facility, and will turn corn kernel fibers into cellulosic ethanol.     

The company hopes the technology opens up the opportunity for more energy independence.

Just like starch, the cellulosic ethanol will be produced in machines like this.  It's what's inside that's changed.  The "Adding Cellulosic Ethanol," or ACE, technology is designed to make the most of every kernel of corn that comes into the plant.

"If implemented industry wide, ACE will be able to create an additional two billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol on an annual basis," said Quad Corn Processors CEO Delayne Johnson.

The brains behind ACE is Travis Brotherson. He's been working in this lab for four years.   

"We began to find that we were actually producing more sugar than we should have been able to.  From there we began to work on really reformulating our pretreatment to really go after the cellulose," said Brotherson.

ACE also improve ethanol byproducts.  For instance, it will produce 300% more corn oil than the current one.  Oil that's sold to bio diesel processors.

Wet cake is the end product of the ethanol process.  It's full of fiber, and a lot of animals can't digest it, like chicken and hogs, but with this new technology they'll be able to pull that fiber out.

"Protein content's higher, fiber content's lower," said Plant Manager Charlie Voss.

Better for the animals, cheaper for the farmer, and the consumer.  That fiber will go into making two million gallons of cellulosic ethanol.

"Currently in the US, there's very little being made," Voss.

Ethanol that will hit the mark next spring. 

Quad Corn Producers received $5.7 million in state and federal grants to build the facility.

A top ethanol lobbyist says the industry still faces an uphill battle against the big oil companies.

"Every issue that they raised about ethanol or the renewable fuels standard can be answered today right here in Galva, Iowa," said Renewable Fuels Association CEO Bob Dinnen.

Congressman Steve King said the petroleum and food industries have launched a campaign against ethanol on Capitol Hill.

"Just a few year ago, I thought there was no threat to renewable fuels, and ethanol.  I remember those questions being asked of me, 'Is ethanol in trouble?'  What I was first asked that, I thought they were not," said King.

Support for ethanol way be waning in Washington, but King said the Galva project is proof food and fuel don't have to compete.


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