Valicor working with Purina, announces patent acquisition

By Holly Jessen | February 16, 2015

Valicor Separation Technologies LLC and Purina Animal Nutrition LLC have signed a letter of intent to work together on developing a high protein coproduct market. This move compliments the company’s Valicor Stillage Fractionation Technology, known as VFrac, as well as a recently acquired patent for protein extraction from corn ethanol stillage. 

Work on VFrac advanced in the months since it was featured in the May issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine. The technology has been installed at two ethanol plant development partner locations, one a Delta-T and the other an ICM Inc. plant. “Pretty quickly we hope to be able to announce successful startup at the two locations,” said Phil Schoof, senior vice president of separation technologies at Valicor. Installation at two other facilities is also in process.

While VFrac was originally targeted for customers interested in the total technology package, the company has learned that the individual modules offer incremental benefits even without a full installation. “There’s a retrofit part of the technology,” said Chris Mahoney, director of Valicor’s advanced separations group, adding that it could be attractive for production facilities with another corn oil extraction technology already in place. “If we install it into existing plants that already have oil recovery, we can dramatically improve the amount of oil they get out of the plant and reduce their chemical costs too.”

Valicor has focused a lot of efforts into developing new coproduct streams, beyond corn oil, an area of much interest across the industry. The patent the company acquired uses size and weight separation to extract, refine and purify a protein stream, a technology that couples well with VFrac, Schoof said. Valicor is examining data that shows the proteins are very digestible and aren’t sticky, meaning they have good flowability. That’s a concern with some of the competing technologies out there, he said.

The company’s letter of intent with Purina is the next step in creating a market for the coproducts produced by VFrac and the high-protein coproduct stream covered by the newly acquired patent. “Those two things together I think move us a long way forward in the path to create a viable protein market in the ethanol industry and we’re pretty excited about it,” he said, adding that one goal is to create specifications to insure consistency and reliability of the product.