Plymouth Oil to extract corn oil

By Ryan C. Christiansen | August 04, 2008
With its 55 MMgy ethanol plant near completion in Merrill, Iowa, Plymouth Energy LLC is already looking ahead at expanding its product offering. A sister company named Plymouth Oil LLC has been formed to produce food-grade corn oil from fractionated corn germ and will send the starch from the corn to the ethanol plant for fermentation, according to Dave Hoffman, a board member of both companies and founder of Plymouth Oil.

Hoffman said the new fractionation and extraction unit will help to address the food-versus-fuel debate by producing both. "The only thing removed in the ethanol process is the carbohydrates to make ethanol, and so all of the other nutrition is there," he said. "Part of that nutrition is going for food."

Plymouth Oil will use solvent extraction to produce the corn oil and defatted germ, Hoffman said. Plymouth Energy will supply approximately half of Plymouth Oil's capacity of 400 tons of corn per day. Plymouth Oil will produce approximately 80 tons of corn oil per day.

Removing the germ and oil increases the protein content of the distillers grains to 45 percent to 47 percent, Hoffman said, making them more usable in the poultry and swine markets. "The balance of our dry product from this extraction will be a dry product that we can feed to hogs and other livestock species, and so we think we will have some value here," he said.

Hoffman said the companies are exploring the potential for removing the oil that remains in the distillers grains for sale to biodiesel plants, as well.