Nick Fetty | July 9, 2014
The Quad County Corn Processors plant in Galva has produced ethanol using starch from corn kernels for more than a decade and has recently begun utilizing the fiber from kernels of corn to make the biofuel. According to Quad County Corn Processors CEO Delayne Johnson, this method using the kernels’ fibers yields an extra 6 percent of ethanol per bushel of corn compared to not using the fiber. The project has been lauded by the national Renewable Fuels Association as well as the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.
Plant Engineer Travis Brotherson came up with the idea to derive ethanol from corn kernel fiber somewhat unexpectedly in 2012.Quad County Corn Processors beat out competitors such as DuPont and Poet to be the first in the state to produce the cellulosic ethanol using corn fiber.
Quad County Corn Processors has invested more than $9 million in equipment to ferment the fiber of corn kernels and the plant is expected to produce about two million gallons of cellulsic ethanol each year. If this technology is adopted by other plants in the United States, Johnson estimates that an additional one billion gallons of ethanol could be produced compared to using previous methods.
Iowa has 42 ethanol facilities and 12 biodiesel plants in the state.