Researching the Next Generation of Biobased Materials

October 10, 2019

Researching the Next Generation of Biobased Materials

Oct 10, 2019

Key Issues:Ethanol

Author: Mary Quigley

The Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technology Office (BETO) recently held a workshop on Leveraging First Generation Bioethanol Production Facilities. The National Corn Growers Association participated in the event, which was held in Ames, Iowa at the Ames Laboratory, a national laboratory operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by Iowa State University.


The workshop focused on how to leverage existing infrastructure and available feedstocks to create biobased materials and chemicals. Suggestions and proposals from the workshop may be used to inform future DOE Bioenergy Technology Office funding announcements. NCGA’s Director of Market Development, Sarah McKay, presented a Rapid-Fire Talk during the workshop. McKay discussed NCGA’s priorities and approach for increasing corn demand and driving the bioeconomy.


“NCGA has a three-pillar approach toward increasing corn demand and driving the bio-economy,” said McKay. “This approach creates new opportunities, improves efficiency and seeks to build trust with consumers. The first pillar is encouraging and creating new demand, where NCGA seeks to stimulate innovation. Second, NCGA seeks to position corn as a clear feedstock choice, using resources such as the ’Corn as an Industrial Feedstock’ booklet found at Third, NCGA aims to help our customers sell their products to their customers, because if they are successful, so are corn growers.”


NCGA highlighted that efficiencies in production and conversion would make corn and corn-based ethanol increasingly attractive feedstocks for new chemicals, materials and fuels.  The Department of Energy, specifically the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Bioenergy Technology Office, is a major supporter of the development of renewable fuels, chemicals and materials. With these developments and adoption of front and back-end corn fractionation technologies, NCGA recognizes there are tremendous opportunities to utilize the starch and fiber component of the kernel for biobased products and chemicals while meeting current and future food, fuel and feed demands.