Reinvesting in Change

BBI International's Tom Bryan introduces the June Ethanol Producer Magazine. The issue contains a look-back at past International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expos as well as several stories about corn oil, which is theme for the month.
By Tom Bryan | April 08, 2014

This June, our industry’s mainstay summer conference turns 30. We’re excited about this milestone, and for fun, we’ve loaded 12 pages of the print magazine with photos of some memorable moments at the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo.  Join our walk down memory lane with more than three dozen pictures of the people, places, awards and presentations that longtime FEW attendees will surely recognize. 

The 30th annual FEW agenda is now finalized and online. You might think that, after three decades, it would become difficult to find new ways to continue “Linking Industry with Innovation,” but just the opposite is true. The FEW’s strong 2014 agenda, like each issue of this magazine, reminds us that our industry is in a state of constant change and discovery.

The focus of this issue, corn oil, is a virtual study in our industry’s predilection for progress. It’s not that corn oil extraction itself is new—90 percent of America’s ethanol plants are doing it—but the way it is still unfolding is fascinating. This issue looks closely at how new progressions of mechanical extraction technology, along with the aid of chemicals and enzymes, are allowing producers to develop tailored solutions to optimize oil production and recover the product inside of exacting parameters.  

In our cover story, “Beyond Corn Oil Extraction," we learn that not only is oil recovery still advancing, but Valicor Separation Technologies LLC is doing so in a way that is in harmony with existing plant technology and “forward compatible” with the next-generation biofuels ambitions of so many of today’s producers.

The importance of fine-tuning corn oil extraction comes up in our cover story and again in our feature, “Optimizing for More Corn Oil.” Senior Editor Susanne Retka Schill examines our industry’s enterprising use of chemicals to improve oil recovery and maximize the payback on mechanical extraction systems. In addition to chemical enhancement, Retka Schill reports that a number of producers are now using an enzymatic approach to enhance oil yields, with impressive results.     

As extraction techniques are optimized, it’s good to know the marketplace for corn oil is strong. Staff Writer Chris Hanson reports in “Ready Markets Soak Up Corn Oil” that corn oil from ethanol plants is now the No. 2 U.S. feedstock, behind soybean oil, for biodiesel production. Not all ethanol plants, however, are content selling corn oil; some are incorporating biodiesel production on site. In our feature, “Biodiesel: Coming Soon to an Ethanol Plant Near You,” Biodiesel Magazine’s Ron Kotrba catches up with two Illinois ethanol plants that are making corn-oil-to-biodiesel happen.

After 30 years, it’s simply amazing to see America’s ethanol plants still reinvesting in change. See you at the FEW.