After the ethanol industry went through such a tight year last year, it’s no wonder refineries are looking to squeeze every penny out of profitability out of every gallon that comes out of the plant. During the recent Fuel Ethanol Workshop in St. Louis, Mo., Joanna had a chance to talk with Brian Thome, the President and CEO of Edeniq, a company that specializes in doing just that.
“It was founded with the idea of how do you take corn plants and migrate them over to a world class cellulosic operation. And what we’ve done is transition that into how do you take a corn ethanol plant and make it better,” he said. Edeniq has developed an end-to-end cellulosic process, pulling individual unit operations out of that process and finding applications in the real world to help customers with commercial uses. “Our goal is to simply incrementally make a plant better and better over time and then add cellulosic, [so] a corn ethanol plant has a more diverse feedstock and output with better economics.”
Adding in Edeniq technology adds bit by bit to a plant’s value with adding all the product lines. In addition, the other co-products, such as sugars, can add to those value streams. Brian also said that it could help either idled or closed plants get back in operation.
“Is there an opportunity? And the real key question becomes, ‘Has that ethanol plant been idled for a specific reason relative to the technology that someone could come in and take advantage of new product offerings, new additions on the technology side? Or has it been idled by other macroeconomic factors?” He added every plant is different with positive and negative attributes now and in the future.
Brain said Edeniq’s bolt-on technology could give some plants immediate returns, while others will need more time. But, as an ethanol man with more than 15 years in the industry, he certainly believes in the long-term of the green fuel and the potential it holds.
“There’s a 24 billion gallon worldwide market, and ethanol is not going away. Whether a person wants to argue if it should be 13.5 billion gallons or 30 billion gallons, the key for me is that it is still a very robust, very large product that needs to find its way into the market.”
Listen to more of Joanna’s interview with Brian here: Brian Thome, President and CEO of Edeniq