VeraSun Energy Corporation, the US’ second-largest ethanol producer, plans to produce biodiesel from oil extracted from distillers dried grains (DDG), a co-product of the ethanol production process.
VeraSun has been exploring biodiesel for years. In 2005, VeraSun and other ethanol producers (Glacial Lakes Energy, KAAPA Ethanol and Golden Grain Energy) and a technology company (Ethanol Oil Recovery Systems—EORS) formed SunSource BioEnergy, LLC with the intention of developing technology that enables the extraction of corn oil from the dry mill process. (Earlier post.)
VeraSun would become the first company to develop a large-scale (30 million gallons per year), commercial facility for biodiesel production from a co-product of the ethanol production process, creating two biofuels from the same feedstock.
Smaller DDG-to-biodiesel projects are underway, such as those by GS CleanTech (earlier post). GS CleanTech is an operating company of GreenShift Corporation, which owns part of EORS.
This opportunity is a natural extension to our business and consistent with our objective to be a leader in the production of renewable fuels. This technology is particularly strategic to VeraSun because it allows us to extend our large and low-cost producer strategy from ethanol to include biodiesel.—Don Endres, Chairman and CEO of VeraSun
VeraSun is currently evaluating locations for a 30-million-gallon-per-year biodiesel production facility, with plans to commence construction in 2007 and begin production in 2008. The Company has contracted with Lurgi PSI, Inc. for design and engineering services for the biodiesel facility and with Crown Iron Works Company for oil extraction equipment.
As a result of the exclusivity provisions in these contracts, VeraSun expects to be the first to develop large-scale facilities using this technology. The Company has also filed a provisional patent application with the US Patent Office for the production process.
VeraSun has two operating production facilities located in Aurora, South Dakota, and Fort Dodge, Iowa, is constructing a third facility in Charles City, Iowa, and has two additional facilities under development in Welcome, Minnesota, and Hartley, Iowa. Upon completion of the new facilities, VeraSun will have an annual production capacity of approximately 560 million gallons of ethanol per year.