Company introduces DDG pellet to feed, fuel markets

By Susanne Retka Schill | November 03, 2008
Web exclusive posted Nov. 24, 2008 at 10:57 a.m. CST

A new process to pelletize distillers grains product for feed or fuel is being introduced to the market by Ag Fuel & Feed LLC, a joint venture of Ag Pellet Energy LLC of Carmel, Ind., and Landers Machine Co., based in Ft. Worth, Texas. Longtime manufacturer of feed pellet mills, Scott Landers with Landers Machine worked with Gary Wobler, president of Ag Pellet Energy, to overcome the challenge of getting distillers dried grains to pelletize without the use of additives or binders. Landers designed a die that successfully extrudes a 100 percent DDG pellet.

The advantages for the ethanol plant, Wobler said, include being able to pelletize DDG at 15 percent moisture, which results in about a three percent reduction in drying costs. Plus, with an increased density of 40.6 pounds per cubic foot, the pelletized distillers grains can maximize truck and rail car load limits and load more easily due to the increased flow ability of the pellets. In addition to energy savings at the facility and ease of handling, Wobler said the pellets have a longer shelf life.

Wobler is developing a second market for the pellets as an energy source. A test burn at Wisdom Station power plant in Spencer, Iowa, 10 percent of the DDG pellets were co-fired with coal. "It cleaned up the smoke," Wobler said. The DDG pellet has similar energy content to sub-bituminous coal at 8,400 British thermal units per pound. Further tests are planned to check emission levels for nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxides when DDGs are co-fired with different types of coal. In addition, Wobler said DDG pellets have a very low carbon footprint. An independent study Wobler commissioned indicated that the 100 percent DDG pellets would contributed between 38 and 77 times less carbon dioxide on a per unit basis than coal.