OMAHA, NEBRASKA, US — Biorefining company Green Plains Inc. has produced greater than 60% protein concentrations with yields as high as 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) per bushel over the course of a month-long trial using its patented Fluid Quip Technologies MSC system combined with biological solutions, the company announced April 20.

The breakthrough at its Wood River, Nebraska, US, dry mill biorefinery was accomplished through a full-scale production changeover across the entire plant’s fermentation and production processes. Modifications for the trial also resulted in record-high low-carbon renewable corn oil yields of up to 1.4 pounds (0.635 kilograms) per bushel, further expanding the company’s ability to supply a strategic feedstock to the fast-growing renewable diesel market.

Green Plains Inc. focuses on the development and utilization of fermentation, agricultural and biological technologies in the processing of annually renewable crops into sustainable value-added ingredients.

“This is a truly game-changing event, as we believe no other technology exists at this commercial scale that can provide 60% or greater, fermented, pre-digested protein products that can radically transform how we feed the world,” said Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer of Green Plains Inc. “As we embarked on our journey to transform our facilities to the biorefineries of the future, we anticipated achieving higher protein levels over time, but this trial is rapidly exceeding our expectations.”

Internal and external product validation efforts are underway to assess additional nutritional value beyond protein concentration levels and begin formulation for a variety of diets in aqua, pet and swine. Products from the trial at Wood River will be included in aquafeed diets produced on multiple extrusion platforms at the company’s Omaha innovation center and then validated through customer and internal feeding trials at its Shenandoah Aqualab, creating a unique end-to-end, in-house innovation platform. 

“While 50% protein was the starting point, we believe the market for fermented plant and yeast-based proteins has significant price inelasticity, as they are valued as nutritional solutions and do not trade like commodities,” said Leslie van der Meulen, executive vice president, product marketing and innovation, for Green Plains. “We are focused on building long-term relationships (with customers) and becoming a cornerstone provider of sustainable, low-carbon, antibiotic-free ingredients.”