Corn Oil Extraction

The modern US ethanol industry saw its genesis in the wake of the energy crisis in the late 1970’s. Originally, ethanol was regarded as a potential solution to the ever-growing reliance on foreign sources of crude oil. However it was not until 25 years later that political policy, spurred by the phasing out of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), created an industry that today produces over 13 billion gallons annually.

Initially, the focus of an ethanol was to produce one product: ethanol. After all, the demand was for liquid fuel, not ancillary products that required market development. However just like many industries, the ethanol market evolved out of necessity and began to shift focus from just ethanol production to evaluating all coproduct streams for additional value. Based on this shift in focus, GreenShift indentified an opportunity and invented a process to cost effectively remove and recover corn oil from the coproduct stream of ethanol plants. The result was a highly valuable product that increased revenues and added processing efficiencies to ethanol plants.

A typical dry mill ethanol plant will convert each 56 pound bushel of corn it receives into about 19 pounds of ethanol, 19 pounds of carbon emissions, and 18 pounds of Distillers Dried Grains (DDGS). Within the 18 pounds of DDGS is about 2 pounds of corn oil or about 4.9 million tons per year of corn oil at the 2013 ethanol production run rate.

Two pounds of corn oil per bushel is a considerable amount of oil. All of which passed through the U.S. dry mill ethanol industry untouched for twenty-four years before GreenShift invented its extraction process in 2004.

GreenShift’s first corn oil extraction patent issued in October 2009, and was subsequently followed up with numerous additional patents. Today, GreenShift’s portfolio of corn oil extraction processes is widely considered to be the quickest path for margin improvement for corn ethanol producers. GreenShift’s patented process is installed at over 80% of the corn-based, dry mill ethanol facilities in the United States, producing roughly 1.8 billion pounds and over $700 million in annual revenue.

Ethanol producers are taking advantage of our corn oil extraction technologies to:

  • increase revenue and earnings
  • decrease commodity and financial risk
  • reduce utility consumption and carbon emissions, and
  • enhance their biofuel yield and enrich their distillers grains