Butamax to retrofit Highwater Ethanol for corn oil recovery; isobutanol next?

October 2, 2013 |

In Delaware, Butamax and Highwater Ethanol have begun to retrofit Highwater’s ethanol plant in Lamberton, Minnesota with installation of corn oil separation technology.

Highwater Ethanol CEO Brian Kletscher stated, “We investigated other options for corn oil recovery, but we had the advantage of seeing the Butamax system first-hand and we were impressed with what we saw. Not only was the production class leading, but the expertise Butamax assembled is unparalleled, including experts from BP, DuPont and Fagen. We are very excited to execute this stage and move to negotiations for biobutanol production.”

Butamax has been quick to point out the connection between the corn-oil separation project and an eventual conversion of the Lamberton plant to isobutanol production. The corn-oil separation technology is an integral part of a full retrofit to biobutanol production and can also be installed independently as a first phase of the conversion.

Butamax CEO Paul Beckwith said “This is an important milestone for Butamax and its partners. We formulated a strategy to provide the most advanced technology to improve current biofuel production, offer better co-product profiles, and pave the way for near- term, large-scale isobutanol production. Today, our vision is becoming reality.”

Beckwith added, “We have spent significant time and energy building the right team and developing and protecting the right technology. We could not be more excited about the next steps towards a whole new biofuels industry.”

Highwater was more cautious at this time in its outlook, with CEO Brian Kletscher telling the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that “We are hopful that [the conversion] can occur. The two companies first signed initial colloborativer agreements two years ago to begin the process of evaluation that could lead to a plant conversion from ethanol to isobutanol.

Installation of the Butamax corn-oil separation system has already commenced with commercial production expected this winter.

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