The distillers corn oil is the main by-product of the ethanol production from the maize grain. This by-product was initially used in the animal feed. This is because the distillers corn oil is a rich source of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid, and is thus used as a fat feed in the poultry and swine industry. But, nowadays the distillers corn oil has become a popular feedstock for the production of biodiesel.
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The distillers corn oil is produced during the ethanol production. During ethanol production, corn is fermented to form ethanol. The ethanol is then boiled off leaving the rest of the distilled mixture in the bottom. This mixture is either dried off for further processing into distilled corn oil or is used directly. Based on this, the distillation type of the distillers corn oil is decided.
The distillers corn oil was previously utilized in animal feed. But now, the distillers corn oil is the second-most used feedstock for domestic biodiesel production in the world only after soybean oil. The distillers corn oil has a feedstock share of 13.17% in the biodiesel production internationally. Many ethanol producing companies have started co-producing the distillers corn oil have located these distillers corn oil production facilities at the ethanol plants itself. This is due to the increasing demand of the distillers corn oil in the biodiesel production.
The distillers corn oil directly after distillation contains elevated levels of metals(minerals), gums, color, and free fatty acid(FFA). This is very beneficial for the animal feed. But during recent discoveries, distillers corn oil has been termed a very good source for biodiesel. But before the use of the distillers corn oil as the feedstock of biodiesel, it has to be first purified from these impurities that are present. This is because of the damage these impurities in the distillers corn oil to the catalytic convertors.
The distillers corn oil use in the biodiesel feedstock has doubled in the U.S. from 2011 to 2102 period. 40.5 million gallons of distillers corn oil was produced in 2011 which jumped to 76 million gallons in 2012. This saw an increase of 53% in the use of the distillers corn oil.
Some of the leading players of global Distillers Corn Oil market include Green Plains Inc., Cardinal Ethanol LLC, Redfield Energy LLC, POET LLC, Greenfield Global Inc., United Wisconsin Grain Producers LLC, Aemetis Inc., Ace Ethanol LLC, RPMG Inc., Patriot Renewable Fuels, LLC.