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Consider Corn Challenge III contest looks for new technologies

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In the agriculture industry, we are always trying to expand the uses for the commodities we grow to increase demand. To continue the search, the National Corn Growers Association is launching the Consider Corn Challenge III open-innovation contest, looking for participants to answer the call and submit proposals for new uses of field corn as a feedstock for producing sustainable chemicals and products with quantifiable market demand.

“Corn is an affordable, abundant, sustainably grown crop that has a myriad of uses and applications, which is why we are holding our third Consider Corn Challenge contest,” said NCGA Market Development Action Team Chair and Iowa farmer Bob Hemesath. “Corn’s cost as a feedstock has benefited greatly by improvements in technology, production and logistics efficiency. With society’s interest in more biobased products, we know we have the solution and that’s corn.”

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.

“As a past recipient of the Consider Corn Challenge award from the NCGA, we have been able to deepen our technology base regarding the differential properties of our novel materials,” said Derek Wells with ExoPolymer. “Due to these efforts, we are currently investigating several targeted market applications and feasibility studies at scale. The CCC award also helped to put a spotlight on our innovative approach, enabling us to raise additional funding and continue our progress. We are grateful for the recognition by the NCGA and are looking forward to further applying our technology for additional valuable uses of this important agricultural product.”

If all nine winners of the Consider Corn Challenge I and II reached full commercialization with products available in the marketplace, the potential for additional corn demand could be approximately 2.9 billion bushels.

“Corn farmers continue to take advantage of the technology that allows them to grow a bigger crop on less land with less resources per bushel, and that means there’s enough carryout available to meet the needs for food, feed, fuel and new uses,” Hemesath added. “This contest is a way to help us think outside of the box and meet the needs of our customers, who are asking for sustainable, biobased products.”

One to six winners will be selected with a total prize pool of U.S. $150,000, split equally between winners. The submission deadline is June 3, 2021, and winners will be announced in September 2021.

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