Members of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and Iowa Corn Promotion Board attended the 2018 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference in St. Louis to showcase a current research project on developing monoethylene glycol (MEG) from corn.
MEG is used in products like antifreeze, plastic soda bottles and polyester clothes. It provides a renewable product and expands the market for corn.
“It’s huge. As corn growers, we keep producing more and more corn, and then we have to find some way to get rid of it. and, the checkoff dollars that we get through the corn promotion board, we try and utilize those to find new ways, new uses, new markets for the corn any way that we can,” said Pete Breck, an Iowa corn grower who is a member of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.
The project focused on getting a renewable and bio-based product into markets where consumers are asking for it, and plastic bottles is one place that trend exists, according to Rodney Williamson, director of research and development with Iowa Corn. It’s a product that has not traditionally been made from corn. The project was part of an open innovation contest hosted by the National Corn Growers Association to generate an interest in developing new products from corn.
“We have a lot of technologies in our pipeline at Iowa Corn to continue this trend of developing new products,” said Alex Buck, industrial innovation manager with Iowa Corn. “What I would say is this has been a great example of corn growers making things for themselves, being preemptive about trying to discover new products and new technologies that they can use, and really diversify their own products. Corn farmers working for corn farmers.”
The group from Iowa also included Iowa State University students who competed in the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Utilization and Technology Conference 2018 Poster Contest.
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Iowa Corn here: Interview with Iowa Corn