Partnership to focus on corn-oil extraction

By Timothy Charles Holmseth | June 17, 2008
A partnership between Golden Grain Energy LLC, an 80 MMgy ethanol plant in Mason City, Iowa, and Madison, Wis.-based Best Energies Inc. has resulted in a new entity called Corn Oil Bio-Solutions LLC, which plans to extract corn oil from ethanol plants for biodiesel production.

"Golden Grain is going to put in the ICM-designed corn-oil-extraction system here," confirmed Walt Wendland, president of Golden Grain Energy. "We will install back-end extraction equipment to take out the free oil in the solubles." The ethanol plant expects to generate enough corn oil to produce 15 MMgy of biodiesel.

The extraction unit utilizes proprietary technology owned by Best Energies. Commercial-scale testing of the technology was conducted at Best Energies' biodiesel plant in Cashton, Wis. "There are processes designed to work with corn oil," Wendland said, adding that corn oil has "interesting and challenging components to turn into biodiesel."

Wendland stressed that the corn-oil project is not just for his plant. Corn Oil Bio-Solutions plans to actively recruit other ethanol plants to become owners in the facility, so they can vertically integrate their corn-oil production into biodiesel, as well.

The new entity received a significant financial boost in April through $200,000 from the Iowa Department of Economic Development Board. Half of the funding will be in the form of an industry loan, and the other half will be a grant to be used to assist with project costs.

The partnership is expected to create 11 jobs, seven of them paying an average wage of $20 per hour. Those jobs include operators, supervisors, a maintenance technician, a technical manager and an office manager.

Wendland said no firm dates are set for the installation of the extraction unit, but he said progress is being made and significant developments should be seen by the end of July. "We continue to move forward with permitting, engineering and design work," he said.
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