Construction set to begin

by World Grain Staff
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Construction on the new O.H. Kruse feed mill and biorefinery is on track to begin later this year, with completion about a year later, according to officials with the Department of Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University (KSU). The mill is expected to serve as the new home of the Feed Science and Management program at KSU.

"Even though remodeled and updated numerous times, the present mill has far outlived its useful life and must be replaced," said Keith Behnke, a professor in the Department of Grain Science and Industry.

Kirk Schulz, president of KSU, said construction of the new feed mill and biorefinery complex has become one of the university’s "top priorities" since KSU/Manhattan was selected as the site for a new $650 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) laboratory to be built by the Department of Homeland Security.

The site chosen for the NBAF is the current site of the KSU Department of Animal Sciences (ASI) feed mill which, like its Grain Science counterpart, is well beyond its useful life, Behnke said. Prior to completion of the NBAF, the ASI feed mill must be replaced, he added.

The $12.5-million facility will include a modern, automated 5-tph feed mill, a liquid feed research facility, and a BSL-2 teaching and research feed mill. The mill will be designed in such a way that scientists will be able to safely work with low virulence pathogens such as Salmonella in feeds, but also use the facility for other research, teaching and outreach activities when not used in the BSL-2 mode. In addition to the processing operations, the facility will contain corrugated grain bins for ingredient storage and for conducting large-scale grain storage and grain quality preservation research.

The state of Kansas has committed to provide about half of the funding required for the new mill to replace the existing feed mill, with additional cash and in-kind equipment donations expected to provide the remaining resources needed for construction. In addition, the Kruse family of Goshen, California, U.S., has made a lead gift of $2 million to honor the company founder, O.H. Kruse.

By combining the operation of the two feed mills, KSU should be able to achieve economies of scale in the purchase of ingredients and the efficient use of labor, Behnke said. He added that nearly all of the labor will be provided by student employees and many of those will be able to assume supervisory roles during their college careers.

The preliminary design and cost estimate of the feed mill was provided by Younglove Construction, Sioux City, Iowa, U.S.

"The design team worked with Younglove engineers and equipment vendors to identify specific machines that would meet the needs of the university," said Dirk Maier, head of the Department of Grain Science and Industry. "The feed mill will house several processing machines that will allow in-depth teaching of operational principles. For example, we will have a full-sized hammermill and roller mill for grinding research, teaching and production."

The Buhler Corp., Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., has agreed to install a vertical shaft hammermill for research and teaching as well, Maier said.

"In addition to a traditional pelletmill, we will have a Kahl ‘flat-bed’ pelletmill that will be a technology platform for pelleting biomass for cellulosic biofuels research," he said. "Several devices, such as a Kahl expander and a CPM Hygenizer, will be available to conduct feed sterilization and sanitation research."

The facility is expected to have space for a "semiworks"-scale biorefinery as well as pilot-scale oilseed crushing and processing equipment.