A research collaboration with Iowa State University into starch for ethanol production is receiving funds from POET. Through the collaboration with POET research, ISU researcher Jay-lin Jane is hoping to find starches to further improve the efficiency of POET’s patent-pending BPX process.
BPX is a raw starch hydrolysis that converts starch to sugar and then ferments to ethanol without the use of heat. It is utilized in 20 of POET’s 22 ethanol production facilities. Benefits include reduced energy costs, increased ethanol yields, increased nutrient quality in the feed co-products and decreased plant emissions.
Our collaboration with Dr. Jay-lin Jane is intended to extend the performance of our patent-pending BPX process to provide a greater yield of ethanol per bushel of corn without the need for cooking. By understanding the starch structure and methods of processing starch, we expect to be able to target further increases in ethanol yield per bushel, reductions in energy required and improvements to the quality of distillers grains.—Dr. Mark Stowers, Vice President of Research & Development at POET
Different lines of corn have different starches, according to Jane, who is trying to identify which lines of corn starches are more easily hydrolyzed by the enzyme and the mechanism of enzyme hydrolysis of uncooked cornstarch. The best starch needs to break down more easily. Jane has found that starches with certain molecular and granular structures work best.
Some starches are loosely packed in the granule and can be hydrolyzed easily, while others, especially those with different crystalline structures, will be difficult for the enzyme to hydrolyze.—Jay-lin Jane
Once the right starches are found, POET will use that knowledge to further optimize its BPX process. The research collaboration received additional support through a grant from the Grow Iowa Values Fund, which seeks to create high quality jobs through business development and expansion.
POET currently operates 22 production facilities in the United States with six more in construction or under development. The company produces and markets more than 1.2 billion gallons of ethanol annually.