Corn Fiber
Will help grain ethanol producers get more out of existing feedstocks.
Photo: Adobe Stock
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, U.S. — Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) and DuPont Industrial Biosciences on June 20 announced a collaboration to develop, produce and market cellulase enzymes for operators of grain-based ethanol plants.

Cellulase enzymes assist in hydrolyzing the corn kernel fiber, which consists mostly of cellulose and hemicellulose carbohydrates. Once the fiber is broken down, more sugars can be liberated and then fermented into ethanol, helping grain-based fuel ethanol producers get more out of existing feedstocks.

As corn kernel fiber is part of a lower-value co-product stream, the potential to develop more valuable “Gen 1.5” ethanol is attractive, the companies said. Ethanol from corn kernel fiber may qualify for D3 RINS under the Renewable Fuel Standard, which encourages producers to utilize non-starch components of grains and other waste products in the production of biofuels, they said.

“The industry is looking increasingly at enzyme-based tools to boost yields and produce additional ethanol without having to make significant capital investments, and we look forward to working with DuPont to help deliver solutions in this space,” said Collin Benson, vice-president of bioactives at ADM.

“We’re thrilled to add yet another significant pillar in our partnership with ADM,” said Troy Wilson, DuPont Industrial Biosciences’ global industry leader of grain processing. “We are already working together in high performance renewable bio-materials; now this agreement brings together substantial resources and capabilities in the pursuit of new innovations for grain-based biofuels.”

Initial product prototypes have proven successful in both laboratory and ethanol plant scale testing, and more evaluations are planned, the companies said. 

Earlier this year, the two companies opened the world’s first biobased furan dicarboxylic methyl ester (FDME) pilot production facility in Decatur, Illinois, U.S.