Broin Companies to Expand Corn Ethanol Plant with Cellulose-to-Ethanol Commercial Production by 2009
Broin Companies, the nation’s largest dry mill ethanol producer, plans to build a cellulosic ethanol production facility in the state of Iowa with a completion date expected in 2009.
The company will convert Voyager Ethanol, located in Emmetsburg, Iowa, from a 50 million gallon per year (MGPY) conventional corn dry-mill facility into a 125 MGPY commercial scale bio-refinery designed to utilize advanced corn fractionation and lignocellulosic conversion technologies to produce ethanol from corn fiber and corn stover. Broin Companies has applied for matching grant funds through the US Department of Energy (DOE) to assist with the project.
Project LIBERTY—which stands for Launch of an Integrated Bio-refinery with Eco-sustainable and Renewable Technologies in Y2009—will produce 11% more ethanol from a bushel of corn and 27% more ethanol from an acre of corn while using 83% less energy needed to operate a corn-to-ethanol plant.
The need to commercialize cellulosic ethanol is apparent as the United States continues to move away from its dependency on oil. We have been working very hard at developing technologies and advancements the past several years to position Broin as a leader in this area, and the project in Emmetsburg is a major step toward reaching that goal.—Jeff Broin, CEO of Broin Companies
The expansion will utilize an existing infrastructure with projected costs for the project at just more than $200 million dollars. Pilot research for this project has been conducted and the expansion is slated to begin in February with a commercial production timeline set approximately 30 months later.
Technology efforts for Project LIBERTY began several years ago and escalated when Broin and the DOE jointly funded a five-year research initiative to develop and improve dry mill fractionation with the assistance of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and South Dakota State University.
The project provided for the commercialization of Broin’s fractionation technology (BFrac), which together with Broin’s raw starch hydrolysis process (BPX), creates the foundation for biorefining. The results of BFrac include producing higher ethanol yields, but more importantly it creates additional value-added products and streams—including the intended use of fiber in the production of cellulose to ethanol.
In October, Broin and Novozymes announced a new collaboration to take the next steps needed to bring cost-effective ethanol derived from corn stover (cellulosic ethanol) to market. The collaboration is an extension of earlier significant partnerships between the two companies. (Earlier post.)