In more ways than one, ethanol was the winner in The American Ethanol 200, a truck race at the Iowa Speedway at Newton on July 13. Prior to the NASCAR race, Syngenta officials held a press conference at the track to make an important announcement involving the seed company's new Enogen corn. They announced that the firm will contribute $1 to the renewable fuels industry for every acre planted with the new Enogen trait technology, beginning with this year's growing season. "We will do this for three years," says David Witherspoon, head of renewable fuels for Syngenta.
This effort will help support the Renewable Fuel Standard and promote the benefits of renewable fuels grown in America. Witherspoon also provided an update on information about Enogen corn, which has been developed by Syngenta and is being introduced in the marketplace specifically for ethanol production.
Farmers who have a contract with an ethanol plant participating in the Syngenta program can get paid a premium of around 40 cents a bushel for growing Enogen corn. This year Syngenta has contracted with 268 farmers in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Kansas to grow Enogen corn on 65,000 acres, up from 25,000 acres last year. Syngenta hopes to triple its sales of Enogen seed next year to 175,000 acres--and go way beyond that in the years ahead.
Enogen corn was developed with a trait specifically for ethanol production
Enogen corn kernels contain a significantly higher amount of alpha amylase enzyme than regular corn. "Enogen produces its own alpha amylase, a necessary ingredient for ethanol production," explains Witherspoon. "Farmers can grow Enogen corn on contract and get paid the price premium when they deliver the corn to an ethanol plant that's in the Syngenta program."
Ethanol plants buy the alpha amylase enzyme in liquid form and add it to the corn mash during the ethanol production process. However, by using Enogen corn, ethanol plants can save money because they don't have to buy the enzyme. With Enogen, it comes in the corn. Enogen corn can save ethanol plants money in other ways too, he notes. For example, the mash made from a mix of 90% regular corn and 10% Enogen corn is thinner, it flows easier--resulting in less water, electricity and natural gas used to pump the mash through the ethanol manufacturing process at the plant.