The Danville Three River Bio-Grain Refinery, which will be built next to the Southern Coal Handling Services facility on East Main Street west of Lynch Road, is one of nine facilities that will become the first commercial production users of the Chen-Xu Process of converting corn to ethanol in the United States.
“This is going to change the way ethanol is produced,” said Dale Elder, vice president and chief financial officer of Reed-Three Rivers, the parent company of the proposed Danville plant.Farmers will also benefit:
Each facility, including Danville’s, plans to produce 240 million gallons of ethanol annually, along with six other human food-grade and pharmaceutical byproducts.
“It’s ‘green.’ There is no pollution with the process, and our co-products are more saleable,” Elder said.
Professor Lifu Chen and Dr. Qin Xu of Purdue University’s Food Sciences Department developed the new process. An exclusive global license was granted in August 2006 by Purdue Research Foundation to Bio Processing Technology Inc. to develop commercial utilization of the new technology.
Elder said the Chen-Xu Process uses less water for ethanol production than the other processes.
That’s because Chen-Xu uses very moist corn that is dried in a patented dryer in its process.
“We want farmers to pick corn at 30 to 36 percent moisture content,” Elder said.
“That means farmers would pick their corn at the end of July, and depending on their latitude, they might be able to get a second crop in,” he said.
Elder said corn that is picked when it still has high moisture content has 17 percent more starch.
“When we get more starch, we get to make more ethanol,” he said.