ing around 1 pound per bushel of corn in some systems. Producers are also getting better at fine-tuning extraction to leave just the amount of oil needed for the end distillers grains market, and no more.
This past year, several ethanol plants have been examining a newly introduced enzymatic approach developed by Novozymes to enhance corn oil yields even further. The company introduced a new enzyme trademarked Olexa at the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop last year, says Jack Rogers, biofuel global marketing manager for Novozymes. “We’re seeing great results—an average of 15 percent increased corn oil and 2 percent increased ethanol yield. There’s an energy reduction of around 3 percent, depending on the plant, and we’re seeing a significant urea reduction.” The enzyme works by breaking down the protein outer layer of oleosomes, which bind oil within the corn kernel. “We’re releasing a pool of oil that chemicals aren’t able to access,” Rogers says. “It is a novel way to improve oil extraction.” The enzyme is added directly into fermentation and no process or equipment changes are needed. In addition, a boost in ethanol production comes from another action of the enzyme in releasing amino nitrogen from the corn that is favored by yeast over other nitrogen sources such as urea. That has resulted in urea reductions as much as 70 percent, Rogers says. There’s a lot of competition among the suppliers of corn oil extractions aids, admit those contacted for this story. That, in turn, has increased the number of trials conducted at plants as products are compared and new ideas for improvements examined. Getting a proper baseline for comparisons is important, as is collecting the right metrics and controlling all the variables but the one being tested. As a
result, the ethanol industry as a whole is improving its sophistication in trialing new technologies. “You’re seeing a lot of innovation, mechanically, chemically and enzymatically, and you’re going to continue to see that. It’s good for the industry, and I don’t see it slowing down any time soon,” Pankonen says. “What we’ll continue to see is a lot
of plants generating new ideas and asking vendors to look at ways they can implement them.” Author: Susanne Retka Schill Senior Editor, Ethanol Producer Magazine firstname.lastname@example.org 701-738-4922
MAY 2014 | Ethanol Producer Magazine | 59
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