Corn oil extraction is becoming the norm rather than the exception for U.S. ethanol plants but there is an emerging oil recovery technology that may turn the current processes upside down says Scott Kohl with White Energy. He talked about the future of this oil recovery technology during his presentation on the Biorefining I panel at the Corn Utilization and Technology Conference (CUTC) last week, an event that focuses on emerging and new technologies using corn.
Kohl said the dry grind ethanol industry represents about 80 percent of the U.S. capacity today and recovering oil from the process has become financially important for facilities. Approximately 80-85 percent of ethanol plants are recovering oil (corn oil) and this, Kohl noted, raises the plant’s bottom line.
However, one of the more important and interesting developments of late, Kohl said, is the technologies being crossed from traditional oil refining for human cooking oil to distillers oil and the quality of corn oil coming out of ethanol plants that adopt this technology will be substantially higher. Kohl said the oil looks similar to soybean oil in properties for biodiesel type applications, and he believes the raw value of the oil will be 8-10 cents a pound more. This is because the corn oil will be easier to refine into biodiesel than the current corn oil on the market.
In a nutshell, what’s happening, Kohl explained, is the dry grind industry is taking a process from one industry, wet milling, to another industry, dry milling, in an economical fashion. He said there is only one facility that he knows of today using this specific process and that’s Corn Oil One in Iowa – the first of its kind. The biorefinery has been running for a little more than a year and Kohl said the product is performing well. He added that he expects the model to be replicated over time as more data emerges from the early technology adopters.
On another note, Kohl said White Energy is doing extremely well and noted the company is most focused today on producing ever lower carbon renewable fuels.
To learn more about recovering oil and White Energy, listen to Chuck’s interview with Scott Kohl: Interview with Scott Kohl, White Energy
Check out pictures from the conference: 2016 CUTC Photo Album.