Chromatin, Inc., a provider of innovative crop breeding technology, sorghum seed products and feedstocks, and Pacific Ethanol, Inc., a producer of low-carbon renewable fuels in the Western U.S., announced they have entered into a multi-year agreement to produce, deliver and use locally grown sorghum in the production of ethanol. The agreement covers up to 30,000 acres of Chromatin sorghum to be grown over multiple years and supplied to Pacific Ethanol.

“We are pleased to extend our collaboration with Pacific Ethanol, which previously confirmed that locally-grown sorghum is well-suited to ethanol production. We also welcome the opportunity to provide crop producers in California with a new market for their products by providing sorghum feedstocks that serve as an economical and energy efficient source of biofuel,” Chromatin Chief Executive Officer Daphne Preuss said.

“We have taken initiatives to diversify our feedstock base and further reduce the carbon profile of our ethanol. Our agreement with Chromatin represents one of these important initiatives and will help California farmers to produce sorghum for production of low carbon ethanol and high value animal feed,” said Neil Koehler, CEO of Pacific Ethanol.

Chromatin is currently working with California growers who are attracted to sorghum as a grain source because it is easy to grow, uses less fertilizer and water than corn and is tolerant to both heat and drought conditions. It is also an effective double crop alternative behind wheat or in rotation with cotton and vegetable crops. In addition, the residue from the harvest of sorghum grain can be used as high quality animal feed. “As the benefits of sorghum become more widely known, especially its resiliency, flexibility and its affordability compared to corn, we are optimistic that it will become the feedstock of choice in ethanol production,” Preuss said.

Ethanol plants in California have been seeking alternative crops to corn to reduce feedstock costs, to improve their carbon footprint and to source feedstock from locally grown energy-efficient crops. California-grown sorghum has proven to be cost effective and energy efficient, and using sorghum grain enables ethanol producers to qualify as Advanced Bio-fuel Producers and become eligible for financial incentives.