Edeniq cellunators installed at Nebraska ethanol plant

By Holly Jessen | March 04, 2016

Mid American Agri Products-Wheatland LLC, a small-scale ethanol plant located near Madrid, Nebraska, has installed Edeniq Inc.’s trademarked Cellunator technology and is considering the next step, licensing the company’s Pathway Technology, which enables cellulosic ethanol production from corn kernel fiber.

Robert Lundeen, CEO of MAAPW, told Ethanol Producer Magazine that the company believes in Edeniq’s technology as well as diversification. “I think it makes common sense,” he said. “The whole industry needs to diversify its revenue stream.”

In fact, the company started up a colocated 3 MMgy biodiesel plant at its facility in the third quarter of 2015. When asked what company was the technology provider Lundeen said it was developed by in-house staff with the support of an Omaha, Nebraska, engineering firm. “I think we were one of the first plants that integrated a small biodiesel plant into an ethanol operation,” Lundeen said.

According to a press release from Edeniq, installing the Cellunator technology will increase the ethanol plants’ ethanol production rates through a pretreatment process of that liberates additional starch from the corn slurry. “Edeniq’s Cellunator high shear equipment increases enzyme access to starch by right-sizing particles,” the press release said. “The technology also increases production of corn oil.”

The plant was built with a nameplate capacity of 44 MMgy but currently operates at 48 MMgy, Lundeen said, adding that adding the Cellunator technology is expected to increase the facilities’ conversion rates by 2 to 4 percent. “We selected Edeniq’s Cellunator technology because of its proven track record at accessing residual starch and its ability to also pretreat corn kernel fiber to enable production of cellulosic ethanol at our plant,” he said.  

If MAAPW takes the next step to produce cellulosic ethanol using Edeniq’s Pathway Technology, the Cellunator equipment will be integrated with cellulase enzymes for fermentation of corn kernel fiber. “The Pathway Technology utilizes existing fermentation and distillation equipment to produce up to 2.5 percent cellulosic ethanol and a 7 percent increase in overall ethanol yield,” the press release said.

Edeniq has made two other significant announcements in recent months, starting with production of cellulosic ethanol at Pacific Ethanol’s Stockton, California, plant using Edeniq’s Pathway Technology. Two months later Flint Hill Resources signed an agreement to license the same technology for all of its seven ethanol plants. 

In all, Edeniq has 29 Cellunators installed at six ethanol production plants. That number includes MAAPW, E Energy Adams, which has had them in operation since 2010, Pacific Ethanol’s Stockton plant, and three Flint Hills facilities, a company spokesperson told EPM. If Cellunators are already installed, Edeniq customers can begin producing cellulosic ethanol within three to six months after a Pathway Technology license agreement is finalized.