Dow signs supply agreement for cellulosic ethanol

Dow Cellulosic Ethanol

Dow has announced a long term supply contract with the New Energy Blue’s Inbicon cellulosic ethanol plant in Mason City, IA. The ethanol will be converted to ethylene replacing fossil fuel based ethylene in Dow’s plants. Dow will support the design of the new plant.

The feed will be corn stalks and cobs. The process is described here–

Previously Dupont and Poets invested in cellulosic ethanol plants in Iowa but without success. The Dupont plant was shut down shortly before the merger with Dow from which the new Dow later emerged. All three used enzymes to break down cellulose into sugars to be fermented to ethanol. The Inbicon process differs in that the troublesome C-5 sugars go to a molasses suitable for use in cattle feed. They also produce lignin pellets.

Corn stover is an available by-product that can be collected and processed. Can markets be found for lignin pellets? Lignin is the phenolic resin that holds cellulose together in materials like wood. It probably could be a biomass fuel.

Lignosulfonates come from paper mills and can be used as low cost emulsifiers for products like concrete, wall board, or asphalt driveway sealers.

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