Distillers Corn Oil: Introduction
The distillers corn oil is the main by-product of the ethanol production from the maize grain. This by-product was initially used in the animal feed. This is because the distillers corn oil is a rich source of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid, and is thus used as a fat feed in the poultry and swine industry. But, nowadays the distillers corn oil has become a popular feedstock for the production of biodiesel.
The distillers corn oil is produced during the ethanol production. During ethanol production, corn is fermented to form ethanol. The ethanol is then boiled off leaving the rest of the distilled mixture in the bottom. This mixture is either dried off for further processing into distilled corn oil or is used directly. Based on this, the distillation type of the distillers corn oil is decided.
Distillers Corn Oil – a popular feedstock for biodiesel in the recent years
The distillers corn oil was previously utilized in animal feed. But now, the distillers corn oil is the second-most used feedstock for domestic biodiesel production in the world only after soybean oil. The distillers corn oil has a feedstock share of 13.17% in the biodiesel production internationally. Many ethanol producing companies have started co-producing the distillers corn oil have located these distillers corn oil production facilities at the ethanol plants itself. This is due to the increasing demand of the distillers corn oil in the biodiesel production.
The distillers corn oil directly after distillation contains elevated levels of metals(minerals), gums, color, and free fatty acid(FFA). This is very beneficial for the animal feed. But during recent discoveries, distillers corn oil has been termed a very good source for biodiesel. But before the use of the distillers corn oil as the feedstock of biodiesel, it has to be first purified from these impurities that are present. This is because of the damage these impurities in the distillers corn oil to the catalytic convertors.
The distillers corn oil use in the biodiesel feedstock has doubled in the U.S. from 2011 to 2102 period. 40.5 million gallons of distillers corn oil was produced in 2011 which jumped to 76 million gallons in 2012. This saw an increase of 53% in the use of the distillers corn oil.
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Distillers Corn Oil: Key Players
Some of the leading players of global Distillers Corn Oil market include Green Plains Inc., Cardinal Ethanol LLC, Redfield Energy LLC, POET LLC, Greenfield Global Inc., United Wisconsin Grain Producers LLC, Aemetis Inc., Ace Ethanol LLC, RPMG Inc., Patriot Renewable Fuels, LLC.
Distillers Corn Oil: Activities by participants
- Greenfield Global Inc., in 2017 has expanded its bio refinery in Varennes, Quebec for sustainable biofuel production. This was to reduce the waste production by the company. The expansion was supposed to increase its annual ethanol production capacity by 70%. And this expansion was planned to carry out when the government was seeking to reduce harmful gas emissions.
Distillers Corn Oil: Opportunities
The cumulative production of distillers corn oil has increased by 15% in Y-o-Y growth of the year 2016 and 2017. The distillers corn oil use in the biodiesel is increasing as the ethanol producing industries are increasing. The analysis shows that U.S. ethanol biorefineries are capturing two-thirds of distillers corn oil market during the ethanol production and selling it into the market. Also, the distillers corn oil use as a feedstock in the biodiesel manufacturing has increased from 30% in 2015 to near 50% in the year 2017. The U.S. ethanol industry in the year 2017 produced 3.7 billion pounds of distillers corn oil.
Also, a lot of research is going into producing the distillers corn oil. This research is being produced to either uses the distillers corn oil in the other products or to yield more oil from the distillers grains. This will help the manufacturer to get a good yield and cater to the demands of the market for the distillers corn oil.