Farm Progress

Once project completed, company’s Fairmont location will produce a high-protein animal feed ingredient.

August 24, 2017

3 Min Read
UPGRADES UNDERWAY: Construction is now underway at Flint Hills Resources' ethanol plant in Fairmont, Neb., to install new technology — Maximized Stillage Co-Products.

Construction is now underway at the Flint Hills Resources’ ethanol plant in Fairmont, Neb., to install a new bolt-on technology, called Maximized Stillage Co-Products. Once operational, the MSC technology will allow the plant to produce a high-protein animal and fish feed ingredient from a portion of its distiller grains, a coproduct of ethanol manufacturing.

The $50 million project is one of the largest investments in co-product upgrading technologies ever made by a dry-mill ethanol manufacturer. Significant construction is required to install the MSC technology, including the addition of a new building and two protein dryers. Construction is expected to last about 12 months and create about 120 construction jobs. The plant will remain in operation during construction.

"We are excited to begin construction to install the MSC technology," says Kevin Karasiuk, plant manager at Flint Hills Resources Fairmont. "MSC is an innovative, bolt-on technology that we believe will help us extract more value out of every kernel of corn we process."

The Flint Hills Resources Fairmont plant buys 44 million bushels of corn annually to produce 125 million gallons of ethanol, 320,000 tons of distillers grain and more than 26 million pounds of distillers corn oil. The plant employs about 50 people.

Implementing new technology
Fluid Quip Process Technologies (FQPT) developed the patented MSC technology exclusively for dry-mill ethanol plants. The technology uses a series of mechanical processes to separate protein from the solids left over after ethanol distillation. Centrifuges are used to isolate protein molecules 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.

"FQPT leveraged its years of experience in the corn wet-milling and ethanol industries to develop the MSC technology as an innovative solution for dry-mill manufacturers," says Neal Jakel, vice president of strategy and technology at FQPT. "The MSC technology raises the value of the ethanol producer's coproducts and helps them diversify their revenue stream by entering new and proven, yet quickly growing, markets worldwide. Additionally, Flint Hills Resources Fairmont plant will be the fourth commercial-scale MSC system in operation when it comes on line in the second half of 2018."

Cost-effective feed ingredient alternative
The new high-protein feed ingredient produced using the MSC technology is a combination of corn gluten (protein) and spent yeast, and will contain close to 50% protein, as well as an improved amino acid profile compared to traditional corn gluten meal. The product will be known as NexPro protein ingredient, and Flint Hills Resources plans to market it to the aquaculture, pet food, swine and poultry industries as a quality and cost-effective feed ingredient option.

"NexPro is a high-quality protein feed ingredient that can help meet the rising demand for protein in feed rations around the world," says Derek Balk, marketing and business manager at Flint Hills Resources. "Industries such as aquaculture, poultry and swine are looking for alternative sources of protein to supplement the diets of fish, pigs and birds. NexPro provides producers with a high-quality, cost-effective alternative to traditional high-protein feed ingredients."

The cost to produce NexPro at the Fairmont dry-mill ethanol facility will be lower than the cost to produce similar feed ingredients at corn wet-milling plants. NexPro will have a comparable shelf life to corn gluten meal and soybean meal, and can be stored in silos or distributed through various transportation modes, including bulk packaging and containers for export.

In addition to its high protein content, NexPro is expected to have about 3.5% crude fiber, 4.5% fat and 1.1% phosphorus. The feed also contains yeast leftover from the ethanol fermentation process. The remaining yeast contains elevated levels of lysine — an important amino acid essential for growth in animals — giving the product more total lysine than traditional corn gluten meal.

Source: Flint Hills Resources


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