Valicor announces VFRAC stillage optimization technology

By Valicor Inc. | February 17, 2014

On Dec. 26, 2013 the U.S. Patent Office issued a notice of allowance to Valicor Inc. of Dexter, Mich., and James Robert Bleyer for its invention titled, “Process and Method for improving water reuse, energy efficiency, fermentation and products of an ethanol fermentation plant.”

Marketed under the trademark VFRAC, this transformational technology was fully developed and validated by Valicor. VFRAC is the first process of its kind designed to optimize the performance of the corn ethanol post-fermentation process to improve overall plant efficiency, productivity and profitability. 

“We believe this technology can be the foundation for the next round of process innovation in the production of corn ethanol. It immediately improves a plant’s profitability and efficiency through higher corn oil revenue, and positions the plant to take advantage of all the developing technologies for cellulosic ethanol along with new co‐products of greater value,” said James Bleyer, inventor of the VFRACTM technology.

At the heart of the VFRAC process is a hydrothermal treatment enabling individual components of the ethanol production plant's stillage flow to be separated, recovered and converted into valuable new fluids and products through Valicor’s custom separation equipment.

The innovative process technology has shown its effectiveness in recovering or removing:

-       Over 1 pound per bushel of corn oil prior to any concentration or evaporation. The process is easily tuned to allow for the exact residual fat content desired for a plant’s DDG requirements.

-       Over 90 percent of suspended solids, creating a “clean stream” for use in backset with minimal non-fermentables and a solids free evaporator feed for efficient evaporator operation and longer periods at higher performance without cleaning.

-       In addition, valuable new coproducts are enabled including: VPRO – a high protein feed product similar to corn gluten meal but having approximately 50 percent protein; starch recycle - available for return with the plant’s backset for 1 to 2 percent ethanol yield improvements; clean fiber - for use in the developing cellulosic ethanol technology.

Valicor serves 40 customers in the North American ethanol market. There are presently two VFRAC installations under development with start‐up scheduled for third quarter 2014.