CTE Global Inc. - Rich Data, Real Relationships

Enzyme provider CTE Global is raising the bar on service with made-to-order testing and contextual plant data analysis from a single lab.
By Tom Bryan | December 22, 2020

For Pedro Peña, CTE Global Inc.’s Lab and R&D director, delivering the right enzymes to an ethanol producer is a process of discovery that couples plant data analysis with a genuine effort to understand the facility, the people who run it, and their goals.

“It starts with those two things: establishing the data and making personal connections at the plant,” Peña tells Ethanol Producer Magazine. “You have to know your customers to understand their challenges, and how their plant is running. The data is vital, obviously, but leveraging those relationships—knowing exactly what your customers want to achieve, and why—is the context that leads to real optimization.”

CTE’s dedication to customer service is the driving force behind its Data-Driven Strategies platform, aimed at extracting maximum value from the production data it harvests for clients through laboratory testing and plant trials. “When we do a trial, whether it’s working with a customer for the first time or the tenth, we perform an all-out analysis of how the plant is running,” Peña says.

The production data CTE generates for its customers is analyzed and parsed out in ways that are particularly useful to decision makers at the plant. “Most of our clients still use third-party labs for testing, and those labs play an important role,” Peña says. “But we’re providing new value to producers by taking commonly run tests, like starch, and separating the data out in ways that provide actionable insight—like defining enzymatically-available starch from resistant starch, or showing how much nitrogen a producer has from ammonia, urea or amino acids—information that sheds new light on optimizing their process.”

One of CTE’s key assets is its ability to accommodate this work within a single lab. “Having our entire customer base, the testing and data for all the plants we serve, under one roof, where we know the methods are consistent day to day, month to month, is a huge advantage,” Peña says. “It gives us the ability to see precisely where each of our customers stand, and it also enables benchmarking. Being able to do all this work under one canopy also accelerates new product development.”

CTE offers more than 20 different enzymes, both stand-alone and blended products, including half a dozen alpha-amylases tailored for liquefaction, a suite of glucoamylase blends for fermentation and saccharification, yeast and numerous specialty enzymes. CTE also provides food-grade enzymes for producers making alcohols for sanitizers or other consumer products.  Knowing which products are best suited for each producer, Peña says, comes down to understanding the plant. “When you fold all the work in—the data, testing in the lab, tech support in the field, understanding the customer’s goals—the answer is usually pretty evident,” he says.

CTE recently expanded its suite of alpha-amylases to include two new products with thermostable characteristics. Peña explains that high heat boosts the solubility of starch, along with the viscosity-break of liquefaction, giving way to the potential for yield improvement.

“That’s what we’re shooting for with these new alphas,” he says. “The industry is moving toward higher and higher starch conversion, and if you can run your liquefaction at higher temperatures, you’re solubilizing the starch at significantly higher levels than you would at lower temperatures. And anytime you can do that, you are increasing your opportunity to improve yield.”

CTE’s AMYL-XT is a stand-alone enzyme with high heat tolerance, while the newer AMYL-XTP+, also a thermostable product, includes a beneficial protease. “With XTP+, we can break up that protein-lipid complex and free up oil, giving your corn oil coproduct yield a boost,” Peña says, explaining that a higher-quality nitrogen environment for yeast growth also results. “Happy yeast withstand stresses and grow and populate better, so that, too, creates the potential for better yield.”

Recently, CTE launched a new line of blended specialty enzymes, including cellulases and fungal alpha amylases, trademarked by CTE as Complete™, designed to help ethanol producers finish challenging conversions. “We’re helping our customers go after that undigested starch, and also corn fiber, so little or nothing is left behind,” Peña says. “It’s about squeezing out as much value as possible. With our Complete™ line of products, producers can now go after that last bit of potential.”