The newest ethanol facility to mark its grand opening is uniquely designed to maximize efficiency and produce both food and fuel from the same corn kernel.
LifeLine Foods of St. Joseph, Missouri held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house for the public on Friday with about 1,000 people attending. Actual ethanol production is expected to begin at the facility next month. The plant will use approximately 26.5 million bushels of corn annually to produce 50 million gallons of ethanol and complementary food ingredients.
LifeLine Foods’ corn processing facility was established in 2001 by a group of corn farmers looking to add value to their product. Since then, LifeLine has been an ingredient manufacturer for dry cereal and the snack industry as well as tortillas. Thanks to an innovative partnership with designer and builder ICM, Inc, the majority farmer-owned facility will now possess the capability to produce both food and fuel.
“This is a one of a kind, state of the art facility for the nation, first of it’s kind, and ICM is responsible for that,” said LifeLine Foods President and CEO Bill Becker during the ceremony.
This new generation ethanol facility features a mill in the front of the plant that separates the corn kernel into fiber, protein and starches. This technique enables increased utilization of the starch within the kernel. The resulting higher quality starches will be used for food products while the lower quality starches will be used to produce ethanol.
In addition, the plant utilizes the fiber in the corn kernel to produce energy. This process reduces the plant’s dependence on natural gas and allows the plant to generate its own fuel. “Fifty percent of our energy needs are going to be supplied by the fiber that’s produced by the solar energy our farmers are harvesting,” said Becker.
“When people ask what we do,” Becker said. “The answer is, we convert solar energy into food for humanity and clean-burning, renewable fuel, that’s what we do.”
Listen to a portion of Becker’s remarks here: lifeline-open-becker.mp3