Ethanol Blog

Iowa Ethanol Plant Approved for California's Cellulosic Market

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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An ethanol plant in Iowa has received approval from the California Air Resources Board to sell cellulosic ethanol from corn kernel fiber in the state, using Edeniq's technology to track cellulosic gallons. (DTN file photo)

Mason City, Iowa,-based ethanol producer Golden Grain Energy, LLC, will be able to sell cellulosic ethanol in the California market after the state approved its application this week.

Golden Grain operates a 120-million-gallon plant that uses technology from California-based Edeniq, Inc., a biotechnology company that has developed "Intellulose 2.0." The technology measures the volume of cellulosic ethanol produced using corn kernel fiber in ethanol plants. Using the technology, plants often exceed 4% of total production from cellulosic ethanol.

Using Edeniq's version 1.0, nine other ethanol plants have previously received approval from the EPA for generation of D3 cellulosic renewable identification numbers, or RINs.

The technology measures the amount of ethanol produced from multiple different molecules present in corn kernels and quantifies the individual contribution of each component.

In May 2019, two plants in Nebraska and Iowa received similar approval to sell cellulosic ethanol in California's fuel market.

Siouxland Ethanol, a 90-million-gallon corn ethanol plant in Jackson, Nebraska, and Elite Octane, a 150-million-gallon plant in Atlantic, Iowa, achieved average corn kernel fiber ethanol production of 3% of total production, using Edeniq's technology.

The emergence of a commercial cellulosic ethanol industry has been slow. A number of technical and federal policy challenges has made full commercialization difficult.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 called for 21 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol production by 2022 -- the industry has fallen far short.

In a 2017 interview with DTN, Edeniq President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Thome, said his company's enzymatic technology had the potential to add 300 million to 600 million gallons of cellulosic production to the nation's fuel supply with no capital investment at existing ethanol plants.

Thome said many enzymes used by corn-ethanol plants today also produce cellulosic ethanol using corn fiber. Problem is, most plants have no way to verify how many cellulosic gallons they produce. The Edeniq technology allows corn-ethanol producers to verify cellulosic gallons.

Golden Grain Energy also produces distiller's grains and non-food grade corn oil. The company is owned by more than 900 members, the majority of whom are Iowa farmers.

Todd Neeley can be reached at

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