Create a free Feed & Grain account to continue reading

Green Plains Realizes Protein Production Breakthrough

CEO: First time in history a dry-mill biorefinery achieved protein concentrations over 60%

2 Lisa Selfie December 2020 Headshot
The Fluid Quip MSC System as shown at UWGP. Photo: Fluid Quip Technologies
The Fluid Quip MSC System as shown at UWGP. Photo: Fluid Quip Technologies

Green Plains Inc. reports its product and technology innovation efforts have led to the production of greater than 60% protein concentrations with yields as high as 4 pounds/bushel at its Wood River, NE, biorefinery, using the patented Fluid Quip Technologies MSC™ system.

The breakthrough was accomplished through a full-scale production changeover across the entire plant’s fermentation and production processes.

Modifications for the trial also resulted in record-high low-carbon renewable corn oil yields of up to 1.4 pounds per bushel, further expanding the company’s ability to supply a strategic feedstock to the fast-growing renewable diesel market.

“We believe that for the first time in history, a dry-mill biorefinery has been able to achieve protein concentrations over 60% with yields approaching 4 pounds per bushel, which can drastically improve the economics of a biorefinery,” said Todd Becker, president and CEO.

“This is a truly game-changing event as we believe no other technology exists at this commercial scale that can provide 60% or greater, fermented, pre-digested protein products that can radically transform how we feed the world," Becker continues.

"As we embarked on our journey to transform our facilities to the biorefineries of the future, we anticipated achieving higher protein levels over time, but this trial is rapidly exceeding our expectations. Our speed of innovation will continue to accelerate as we work jointly with our customers to deliver even more value.”

In 2019 the Green Plains organization, led by Becker, made the decision to further diversify their ethanol facilities, to insulate revenue generation from the energy market pitfalls.

The technology

Fluid Quip Technologies, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, IA, leveraged its years of experience in the corn wet milling and ethanol industries to develop the MSC technology. FQT developed the patented MSC technology exclusively for dry mill ethanol plants to produce high-value co-products.

The bolt-on technology uses a series of mechanical processes to separate protein from the solids after ethanol distillation. Centrifuges are used to isolate protein from residual fiber and carbohydrates. Once the protein is isolated, it is sent to a protein dryer where it is dried into a high-quality meal.

At Wood River, internal and external product validation efforts are underway to assess additional nutritional value beyond protein concentration levels and begin formulation for a variety of diets in aqua, pet and swine.

Products from the trial at Wood River will be included in aquafeed diets produced on multiple extrusion platforms at the company’s Omaha innovation center and then validated through customer and internal feeding trials at its Shenandoah Aqualab, creating a unique end-to-end, in-house innovation platform.

Innovation centers

With the opening of its Innovation Center at Omaha, Green Plains now operates three innovation centers, allowing it to move from benchtop, scale-up, feed production to finished product testing.

“While 50% protein was the starting point, we believe the market for fermented plant and yeast-based proteins has significant price inelasticity as they are valued as nutritional solutions and do not trade like commodities,” said Leslie van der Meulen, executive vice president, Product Marketing and Innovation.

“We are in advanced conversations with global customers to use this revolutionary product to help solve specific needs through our fermentation and innovation platform. We are focused on building long-term relationships and becoming a cornerstone provider of sustainable, low-carbon, antibiotic-free ingredients.”

Becker says with this success, the disruptive, transformational technologies the company is deploying are demonstrating the potential to distance it from historical volatility and continue to unlock the true value of Fluid Quip Technologies’ leading ag-tech platform for Green Plains, our partners, customers and shareholders alike.

"Between MSC protein and ingredients, low-carbon renewable corn oil and Clean Sugar Technology, along with our exclusive partnership with Novozymes, we believe the strength of our innovative IP portfolio is unmatched in agriculture today," says Becker. "We now have a thorough understanding of how to optimize our patented MSC technology with engineered mechanical changes and additional biological formulation upgrades."

Page 1 of 24
Next Page