National Corn Growers Assn Announces Winners Of Its “Consider Corn Challenge III” Contest

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Today, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announced the Consider Corn Challenge III winners at the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference in San Francisco, California. The six winners were chosen because their technologies can improve a product or process, scale-up and produce biobased materials from field corn.

“We know we produce an affordable, abundant and sustainable crop that can be used for a variety of uses and applications, which is why we held the contest,” said NCGA Market Development Action Team (MDAT) Chair and Iowa farmer Bob Hemesath. “The value of corn as an industrial feedstock continues to improve thanks to advancements in technology, production and logistics efficiency. Corn is the perfect solution for biobased products, especially as society becomes increasingly interested in more sustainable products.”

The six winners of the Consider Corn Challenge III are the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, BioAstra Technologies from Quebec, Canada, Catalyxx of Chesterfield, Missouri, Danimer Scientific based in Bainbridge, Georgia, Låkril Technologies out of the University of Minnesota, and Sylvatex from San Francisco, California.

Previous winners of the Consider Corn Challenge contests have scaled up to the next phase of development, received additional grant funding, entered into joint agreements and obtained registration for state biobased production incentives.

If all 15 winners of the Consider Corn Challenge I, II & III reached full commercialization with products available in the marketplace, the potential for additional corn demand could be approximately 3.4 billion bushels.

“This contest allows us to be more innovative in meeting the needs of our customers, who want more sustainable, biobased products,” Hemesath added. “Farmers have made great strides over the years to utilize the technology that allows them to grow more on less land using fewer resources per bushel. There is enough corn grown to be able to meet the needs for food, feed, fuel and new uses.”

The total prize pool was U.S. $150,000, split equally between winners.

More about the winners’ submissions:

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL):
• What: Acrylonitrile to Carbon Fiber
• Uses: Lightweight replacement for steel and aluminum in products like vehicles

BioAstra Technologies:
• What: Smart and recyclable formulations based on cellulose and PLA.
• Uses: Plastic bags, surgical masks, and Phase-Change Materials.

Catalyxx:
• What: Bio n-butanol and other longer chain linear alcohols from ethanol
• Uses: n-Butanol is used to make other chemicals (butyl acetate and butyl acrylates), valuable as a solvent or as an ingredient in formulated products such as cosmetics. The C4+ alcohol mix can be used for diesel and marine fuels.

Danimer Scientific:
• What: PHA from corn oil
• Uses: Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are biodegradable, biobased polymers that can be used for plastics

Lakril Technologies:
• What: Bio-acrylic acid made from lactic acid
• Uses: Bio-acrylic acid can be used for bio-polyacrylic acid (PAA) as super absorbers in hygiene products & diapers and for bio-acrylate polymers in paints and industrial coatings systems.

Sylvatex (SVX):
• What: Sustainable solutions made from biomass-derived oxygenates and free fatty acids useful as alternative diesel fuel or specialty chemicals for the production of cathodes used in lithium-ion batteries.
• Uses: Off-road diesel, cathodes for battery production