Cob chic: as cellulosic biofuels arrive, the humble corn cob reigneth anew

MacArthur
After achieving celebrity via Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Huck Finn and Frosty the Snowman, the corn cob has been languishing of late.
No more, as cobs appear poised to emerge as a biofuels feedstock rockstar.

In days gone by, no one living on the land wasted anything if they could find a use for it. That’s one of the reasons that corn cobs were used just about anything – pipes, pot scrubbers, for corn cob jelly, as bird feeders, firestarters, paint rollers, dolls. There are even some enterprising corn cob wines – which of course, tells you something about the opportunities to find sugars in there and ferment them to make ethanol.
In that newsvein, good news arrived from Iowa State last week – that up to one ton of corn stover per acre can be safely removed from the field – great news for POET and those working with corn stover – and, in general, for fans of advanced, cellulosic biofuels.

But for some reason, corn cobs have become all but forgotten in the mix. Why is that, asks the team at FarmMax, which has developed a single-pass system for cob collection.

“At 180 bushels per acre, there would be approximately a ton of cobs. They say take a ton. So take the cobs for Pete’s sake!” says FarmMax’s Beth Stukenholtz.

Source

biofuelsdigest.com.

Our Comment

Corncobs (cobs) contain ±30 of pentosan, the starting point of furfural production, which makes better use of the 5-Carbon molecule. Have a look at:

Filed under: Topics of Interest Tagged: cellulosic ethanol, corncobs, furfural

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