|Front view of the corn oil recovery system|
Veridium Corporation announced the receipt of its first order for its system that extracts high-grade corn oil from a corn ethanol by-product called distillers dried grain (DDG) (earlier post). The corn oil can then be used as a feedstock for biodiesel production.
Ethanol producer Glacial Lakes Energy has the Veridium Corn-Oil Extraction System (COES) installed and running in its Watertown, South Dakota, ethanol production facility. The system is extracting corn oil from DDG at the rate of about 800,000 gallons per year. After upgrades, Veridium expects the production rate to increase to between 1.2 and 1.5 million gallons per year.
Currently, the majority of ethanol production is based on a dry milling technique that utilizes more than 1 billion bushels of corn to produce 3 billion gallons per year of ethanol. The dry mill process converts the starch from the kernel of corn into sugar and then ferments the sugar into ethanol.
The balance of the corn (non-starch components) then goes through a dewatering and dehydration process where the byproduct is sold as a commercial feed ingredient called distillers dried grain (DDG). DDG contains the majority of the corn oil that was present in the corn kernel.
Today, the 1 billion bushels of corn currently used in the dry mill ethanol process contain roughly 300 million gallons of corn oil that is currently sold for about $0.03 per pound as commercial feed in the form of DDG. The Veridium technology presents another option for monetizing the byproduct: conversion into biodiesel.
Veridium claims that its system can recover up to 75% of the corn oil within the DDG. By improving the drying efficiency of the DDG, it also reduces overall plant operating costs and emissions.
Veridium is about 65% owned by GreenShift Corporation, which also partly owns biodiesel producer MeanGreen Biofuels. Veridium does not license or sell its recovery system, opting instead for long-term corn oil purchase agreements based on a fixed discount to prevailing market prices. The oil then flows to MeanGreen.
Glacial Lakes is a farmer-owned ethanol production facility that was commissioned in August 2002 and is currently producing more than 50 million gallons of ethanol annually.