Ethanol producer VeraSun is considering sinking $30 million into a process that would allow the company to also get biodiesel out of its ethanol production.
This story in the Des Moines Register says VeraSun might make changes to a north Iowa plant to extract corn oil from dried distillers grain — an ethanol byproduct — and make that oil into biodiesel:
“We can get two fuels out of one kernel of corn — ethanol and biodiesel,” said Keith Bruinsma, VeraSun’s vice president of corporate development. The project received state incentives Thursday.
Bruinsma said VeraSun’s process also makes its dried distillers grains more attractive to swine and poultry producers, now limited in its use of the byproduct.
Officials say the feed is better suited to cattle, which can better digest it.
“The corn oil is essentially a limiting factor in feeding distillers grain to swine and poultry,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. “By removing the oil, the resulting distillers product is higher in protein and can be fed in a higher percentage” to chickens and pigs.
This could end up being a win-win-win situation as the it helps ethanol and biodiesel producers be more profitable by getting more out of their feedstocks while helping livestock producers by providing more feed.