More ethanol plants are squeezing more profits out of the corn they use by recovering more of the oil in the process and turning it into biodiesel. This article from Ethanol Producer Magazine says by the end of the year, as many as 80 percent of U.S. ethanol plants could be recovering corn oil.
WB Services is offering ethanol producers a way to turn corn oil into high-value fuels on site. The company has two separate technologies, both commercially available now, that call for co-location of either a biodiesel or renewable diesel facility with an existing ethanol plant. “We think this just adds another arrow to the quiver for an ethanol plant as far as diversifying their product mix and insulating them against tough times,” [Bernie Hoffman, vice president of business development and minority owner of WB Services LLC] says. Rachel Overheul, engineering manager for WB Services, agrees. “It brings a lot of potential market value to the ethanol plant, as opposed to being dependent on the corn oil market,” she adds.
The company has built and is operating a 2 MMgy biodiesel plant and is in the process of completing construction on a 3 MMgy renewable diesel facility, both in Sedgwick, Kan. Although neither facility is co-located with an ethanol plant, both serve as a showpiece for potential customers interested in co-location. “They can come and see the technology at work, feel comfortable with the way they operate,” says Ron Beemiller, company president and CEO.
The article goes on to point out how a co-located biodiesel facility helps with commercial viability, uses existing infrastructure to keep costs down and allows for continued research and development. In addition, while many facilities might be built for corn oil, there’s some real flexibility in choosing another feedstock if the need arises.