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Protein Packs A Punch in New Ethanol Coproducts

Submitted by on April 15, 2016 – 2:28 pmNo Comment

by Holly Jessen and Kassidi Andres (Ethanol Producer Magazine)  Two companies gain traction in the quest to produce high-protein feed products from ethanol coproducts. —  Novita Nutrition and Nutrinsic Corp. approach producing high-value feed products from ethanol coproducts differently—Novita removes unsaturated fat from distillers grains while Nutrinsic targets the condensed syrup typically added to distillers grains. Both are targeting the ethanol industry as suppliers of the coproduct streams used to produce new nutritious feed products.

Novita, led by President and CEO Don Endres, is building its first production facility in Aurora, South Dakota, with full operations expected to begin at the end of 2016. The company has developed a patented process to remove all of the unsaturated fat to improve the digestibility of distillers grains. The trademarked NovaMeal will be pelletized and initially marketed to the dairy industry. Distillers grains will be transported to the facility, primarily by truck from ethanol plants within a 100-mile radius, but also via rail. The facility in Aurora will receive about 1,300 tons of distillers grains daily, producing about 1,200 tons of NovaMeal and 100 tons of corn oil. The corn oil will be  marketed initially as poultry feed while other markets are explored, including corn oil as a biodiesel feedstock.

Nutrinsic’s product lines include feeds with 50- and 60-plus protein content and  a natural fertilizer coproduct with applications in commercial lawn, plant, greenhouse and retail lawn care products. The largest markets for Nutrinsic’s trademarked feed product, ProFloc, are aquaculture, poultry, piglet and hog markets, in that order, says Dan Simon, president and CEO.

The feed product already is in production using process streams from breweries. The company’s patented process harnesses underutilized nutrient sources as a substrate to grow bacteria, which is separated, dried and packaged for sale. One plant in China has partnered with Anheuser-Busch since 2014 and construction is expected to be completed in June on Nutrinsic’s first commercial plant in the U.S.—a facility in Ohio built in partnership with MillerCoors.

The company is working to build additional production facilities, Simon says. In the U.S., Nutrinsic is focusing on using condensed syrup from ethanol plants and glycerin from biodiesel plants as its feedstock for its bacteria-based feed product.

Research showed that corn oil, which is high in unsaturated fat, negatively impacts the rumen’s ability to break down fiber and produce amino acids and energy. In dairy cattle, that results in reduced milkfat levels. So, even though the economic model shows more distillers grains could be included in dairy cattle rations, it was not, primarily because of unsaturated fats, he says.

More than 10 years ago, the founders of Nutrinsic began with an idea that emerged from water and wastewater treatment using aerobic digestion, Simon says. Researchers developed a process to tailor the growth of certain bacteria with specific concentrations of protein. The original concept was to produce feed and, eventually, with regulatory approval, a food product.

Fishmeal prices are volatile and move between $1,400 and $2,400 a ton. Long term, the goal is to sell ProFloc for similar prices. However, as was also the case when distillers grains was a newcomer in the feed market, in the beginning ProFloc will be sold at a discount to fishmeal, Simon says.    READ MORE

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