Corn oil is an important co-product that plays a significant role in the profitability of fuel ethanol facilities. ACCESS Technologies with its strategic alliance partner, AMS, have developed a series of CODs designed to perform in a variety of corn oil extraction processes to help producers evaluate the most effective corn oil extraction.
From the start of the 1990s renaissances of the American ethanol industry, producers recognized distillers grains’ essential role, but other possible co-products were a question mark. Some thought carbon dioxide for bottling and other industrial uses would make the third revenue stream, but that market has been limited. In the mid-2000s, seemingly coming out of nowhere, corn oil extraction from distillers grains came on the scene. Since then it has been recognized as an essential element in the profitability of the ethanol industry.
In 2008, towards the beginning of the trend in corn oil extraction, ethanol producers captured only a small fraction of the oil contained in the raw grain – averaging a take of about 0.13 pounds out of an estimated 2 to 2.2 lbs. Total oil contained in every 56-lbs bushel. Today, the top performers capture nearly half of the available oil. Plants have worked steadily to improve their processes, and they have been assisted in these efforts by companies like ACCESS Technologies and AMS that tailor products for use in treating the syrup after the fermentation process, to make more oil available for extraction. These food grade materials called “demulsifiers,” frees up the valuable oil.