Data gathered from a wide variety of plants across the US through our Biofuels Benchmarking program allows us to explore the impact of ethanol co-product trends.
It reveals that a steady chunk of ethanol plant revenue is derived from a diversifying mix of co-products. In fact, focusing on achieving the right mix of co-product can ultimately result in higher (and more consistent) earnings on each bushel of feedstock purchased.
Corn recapture percentages (a measure of co-product revenue dollars per dollar of feedstock cost) reached all-time highs during 2013, and have maintained a steady or increasing percentage for the past four years.
Information about ethanol co-product trends helps answer a number of vital questions for anyone interested in the future of industrial ethanol production in the US.
- Which products contribute the most to plant bottom lines, and what percentage of domestic plants have already adopted the technologies to capitalize on those products?
- How does a focus on co-product production affect ethanol sales revenue?
- What is the right amount of emphasis to place on energy efficiency, feedstock cost and quality, and other factors that are affected by co-product production?
By examining data on leaders in co-product production, we can provide answers to these questions—answers from real-world large-scale production environments.
The data trends of the most recent several years indicates the current impact of corn oil extraction on the ethanol industry, and delves further into current questions surrounding corn oil. It also reveals the impact of the export market on DDGS production and pricing.
- As most plants add extraction capability, does the industry risk long-term devaluation of corn oil due to oversupply?
- Does corn oil extraction detract from the value of distillers’ grains solubles?
- Are there areas of the country where plants benefit more or less from the sale of corn oil?
- How many plants are adding capability to further increase the value of corn oil by refining biodiesel onsite?
While each plant is unique, examining benchmarking data helps the industry draw reasonable conclusions. This data points the way to well-founded planning for producers, and it helps shine a light on ways to explain the value of ethanol to the layperson in a broader context than the renewable fuel advantages alone.