A plant in Emmetsburg could be the start of a whole new way of doing things in the ethanol industry if plans announced Monday come true. Jeff Broin, the C-E-O of Broin Companies, is seeking a federal grant to convert the company’s ethanol plant to be able to turn corn waste products into ethanol.
Broin says this would open up new opportunities for farmers. Broin says the farmer would be delivering not only grain, but corn stover (corn stalks and leaves) to the facility. Another innovation of the plant would use the product left over after ethanol production to provide the energy for the plant.
Broin says it’ll be a combined grain and cellulose facility and the byproduct from the cellulose facility would be used to power the plant — resulting in an 83-percent reduction in the cost of powering the plant. Byproducts from the ethanol process are already used as a feed source for animals, and Broin says that would not change. Broin says the byproducts for cattle feed would still be available, as it’s only the byproduct from the cellulosic process that’ll be used for energy generation.
Broin says they’re still working on a way to collect and story the stover that farmers would bring in. And he says, right now, they’re limiting the process to corn. Broin says at this point the goal is to commercialize the use of corn stover, but down the road he says the process might be used for other crop residues. Broin says they’re seeking an 80-million dollar federal grant for the project and if they win the grant, the plant conversion could be completed in about 30 months.