Golden Grains, Best Energies partnership receives $200,000

By Timothy Charles Holmseth | April 08, 2008
Web exclusive posted April 29, 2008 at 2:06 p.m. CST

A biodiesel partnership between Mason City, Iowa-based Golden Grain Energy and Madison, Wis.-based BEST Energies, Inc., has received $200,000 from the Iowa Department of Economic Development Board.

Walt Wendland, president of Golden Grain Energy, said $100,000 is an industry loan, and the other $100,000 is a grant that will be used to assist in project costs. The funding was received under the Value-Added Agricultural Products and Processes Financial Assistance Program.

While biodiesel prices are trading at record highs, soybean oil and animal fat feedstock prices have also increased. Meanwhile, ethanol producers are looking for additional revenue opportunities and techniques to recover nonfood-grade corn oil from distillers grain - which, if separated, is worth more than three times its value. Golden Grains and Best Energies have entered into a unique partnership to capitalize on these opportunities.

The partnership, which Wendland called a "work in process" is named Corn Oil Bio-Solutions LLC. Best Biodiesel is a subsidiary of Best Energies. Its proprietary technology will convert distillers grains' corn oil into ASTM quality biodiesel at Golden Grain's ethanol plant in Mason City, Iowa.

"BEST's vision is to integrate technologies within existing ethanol plants creating a real competitive advantage for our ethanol partners," said Tony Janowiec, vice president of BEST Energies, in Golden Grain Energy's March Member Update. "Our proprietary ethanol-integrated biodiesel process is the first of many technologies that we plan to bring to our partnership with Golden Grain. It's all about maximizing existing resources and getting more value out of the same acre of land and the same kernel of corn."

The technology is currently used in a 10 MMgy Cashton, Wis., plant owned by Best Energies. "[The Cashton facility] was designed especially to utilize corn-oil which has a high FFA content, which makes its hard for other biodiesel plants to manage," Wendland said. "They de-gum soy oil."

Golden Grain expects to generate 15 MMgy of biodiesel in the first quarter of 2009. Wendland said the partnership is expected to grow and include several area ethanol plants as corn oil supplier and ownership partners. "We are actively recruiting other ethanol plants to become owners in the facility and to become able to vertically integrate their corn-oil production into biodiesel."