$8.5M investment should make Redfield ethanol plant more efficient

Becca Simon

Redfield Energy will get more efficient and significantly reduce its carbon footprint with the implementation of what’s called a thin stillage solids separation system.

In October, the ethanol plant entered into a $8.5-million contract with ICM Inc. to install a new system that will maximize ethanol and distillers oil production while minimizing energy consumption, according to Ethanol Producer Magazine.

Stillage is a liquid waste remaining after ethanol distillation that often contains solids from grains. By using a system that separates the solids from the liquid, the process is much smoother, said Tom Hitchcock, CEO of Redfield Energy.

Redfield Energy already has an ICM system that separates fiber prior to the fermentation process, which helped to lay the groundwork for the new technology.

“It’s exciting,” Hitchcock said. “We’ve always had success with these new systems.”

The technology will extract extra fiber from corn and lead to 8 percent more ethanol production, he said. The Redfield plant will be the second plant in the country to use this system. The other is in Ohio, Hitchcock said.

“By removing these solids in our liquid stream, everything will run a little more smoothly,” he said.

Emissions of greenhouse gas will also decrease significantly, according to Hitchcock.

Currently, the plant is working on pouring the concrete for the new building. Construction will begin in February, and the new equipment will be installed in March. Hitchcock hopes the new system will be up and running by April.