Having Your Fuel and Eating It, Too

John Davis

bioexx.jpgThere’s been a lot of debate over the use of some foods as feedstocks for biofuels. But a company in Canada might have the solution that allows those feedstocks to be made into biodiesel, while retaining the proteins that are needed for animal feeds.

This article in Canada’s Globe and Mail says BioExx employs a “cold process” that not only saves the proteins sometimes cooked away in the biodiesel process, but it’s better for the environment:

The BioExx process uses a gaseous fluorocarbon iodine derivative as the extraction medium; a combination of pressure and low heat (about 20 degrees) is used to first extract the oil and then to physically separate out the proteins in liquid form.

“Because we use lower temperatures, we don’t ‘cook’ the proteins like an egg white would be cooked,” Mr. Carl says, meaning that the proteins are thus fit for further use. In additional to animal feed, extracted proteins can also be used in industrial applications such as paints and coatings.

BioExx says its process produces almost no waste or pollutants and consumes less energy than conventional methods, making it environmentally friendly as well. Even the spent plant biomass (such as stalks or leaves) can be sold for animal feed or other products, Mr. Carl says.

BioExx has already put one small-scale commercial in Canada. Now, with the help of Calgary-based BioNex Energy Corp., the two will be building and operating plants across the country that combine seed-crushing and biodiesel production plants.