U.S. corn represents a sustainably produced, economically competitive, and extremely flexible feedstock for bioproducts. U.S. corn farmers continue to adopt new innovative production practices, as a result their production efficiency continues to improve year-over-year, producing more with less. However, these advances now support production that greatly exceeds annual U.S. corn demand. In fact, production this year is forecasted to exceed demand by nearly 50 million metric tons. Additionally, new technologies are being deployed that will provide clean product streams (sugar, lipid, proteins) as feedstocks for processes. At the same time, consumers worldwide continue to demand additional bio-based products. This confluence of available corn-based feedstocks and consumer demand represents an extremely exciting opportunity for stakeholders in the sustainable bio-materials industry.
Image credit: NCGA
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) continues to strive for new uses for feed corn that will utilize at least 75 million bushels by 2020. In the previous challenge, NCGA selected six winners focused on developing biosourced materials from corn such as malonic acid, furandicarboxylic acid, monoethylene glycol, aromatic chemicals (benzene, toluene, xylene), and unsaturated polyester resins.These chemicals offer great potential as starting materials for biobased plastics, coolants, adhesives, etc. used in a wide variety of products.
This new Challenge is about finding game-changing new uses for field corn, utilizing any of the components in Figure 1 in the Challenge Summary Document >>.
A total prize pool of US$150,000 will be split equally between 3 to 6 winners, based on the strength of competing submissions. Additionally, NCGA, or its state or other partners, may explore funding or other support of an Entry for further development and/or commercialization, even if the Entry is not a prize winner.