DuPont, Quad County sign multi-year enzyme supply contract

By DuPont | October 16, 2015

GALVA, IOWA--DuPont Industrial Biosciences (DuPont) and Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) announced a new multi-year contract to supply the enzymes that enable QCCP’s trademarked Cellerate process in the production of cellulosic biofuel from corn kernel fiber.

Cellulosic ethanol is a biofuel produced from the inedible parts of plants that are used in low-greenhouse-gas transportation fuels. In 2014, QCCP produced the nation’s first cellulosic ethanol gallons and the world's first gallons from corn kernel fiber with a process developed by QCCP and powered by DuPont enzyme technology.

DuPont’s enzymes have been a part of the process from the start. Over the last year of production, QCCP Chief Engineer Travis Brotherson has seen a marked difference in value between DuPont’s enzymes and its competitors’ offering. “DuPont’s enzymes have consistently outperformed other products in driving cellulosic ethanol and corn oil yield in our Cellerate™ process,” commented Brotherson. QCCP uses DuPont's OPTIMASH suite of enzymes from the DuPont Accellerase portfolio of cellulosic enzymes, trademarked products.  The OPTIMASH enzymes are specifically formulated for use in the corn fiber cellulosic application.

QCCP currently produces 35 million gallons of grain ethanol per year.  With the cellulosic bolt-on technology, a maximum of 4 million gallons of advanced biofuel can be produced per year with the corn kernels left over from the grain ethanol process. Currently, QCCP produces 2 million gallons of biofuel per year from cellulose conversion, but anticipates production of an additional 2 million gallons of biofuel per year once a C5 yeast is approved. The benefits of adding second-generation biofuel production to an existing dry grind ethanol facility are substantial – from additional ethanol, Cellulosic renewable identification numbers (RINs)  to additional distiller’s corn oil. QCCP further estimates that their technology has the potential to enable grain ethanol plants in the United States to produce over 1 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol annually based on total corn kernel fiber conversion in the dry grind industry.

“We’ve developed a whole new category for ethanol producers to get their foot in the door of the cellulosic market,” said Delayne Johnson, CEO, QCCP. “And no other partner offers the breadth of expertise that DuPont brings to the table – from enzymes to coproducts.  Together, we are able to deliver the most advanced process technology for our customers to grow this market and deliver on the promise of advanced renewable fuel.”

In addition to advanced enzyme technology, DuPont has over 25 years of expertise in the animal nutrition sector, which enables companies like QCCP to work with world renowned animal nutritionists to achieve maximum value from their co-products. 

“DuPont’s goal is to enable the bioeconomy through science,” said Jan Koninckx, global business director for advanced biofuel at DuPont. “To reach that goal, we offer multiple solutions, from our full advanced biofuels technology licensing to delivering customized solutions in both enzyme technology and co-product production for ethanol producers. We’re proud to be a partner with QCCP, enabling the growth and success of advanced biofuels here in the United States.”

DuPont will be joining QCCP as a producer of cellulosic ethanol this fall, with the commissioning of its own cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Iowa on Oct. 30. The facility will be the largest in the world and produce 30 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel from corn stover gathered from local farmers in the region.