In Illinois, ethanol plants typically use dry grind processing methods; however, implementing fractionation techniques that separate corn components prior to fermentation can improve profitability, a University of Illinois study shows. The researchers found that wet fractionation techniques designed for separating germ (containing maximum oil) and pericarp (the outer layer of the corn seed, containing mostly fiber) were the most profitable for processors. Return on investment for dry fractionation methods were comparable to the conventional method.
Wet fractionation processes involve soaking the corn in water for 6 to 12 hours followed by coarse grinding to separate germ, pericarp fiber, and fine fiber before fermentation. In dry fractionation processing, the corn is mixed with water or steamed for 15-30 minutes prior to grinding and separation of components.
Wet fractionation is more expensive, but the quality of coproducts is also higher. Fractionation technologies are commercially available, but many dry grain facilities are hesitant about implementing these modifications, because they will need to purchase new equipment. However, the added investment will pay off, researchers say.
This articles was originally posted at: https://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2019/11/04/university-of-illinois-researchers-find-fractionation-can-boost-profits-at-ethanol-plants/ on