Sophisticated grain ethanol production facilities have been utilizing engineering and design enhancements, new process technologies, automation upgrades, and other advances to make remarkable gains in efficiency to extract more out of each bushel of corn. On average, one bushel of corn processed by a dry mill ethanol plant can now produce:
- 2.86 gallons denatured fuel ethanol
- 15.9 pounds of distillers grains animal feed (10 percent moisture)
- 0.75 pounds of corn distillers oil for animal feed and biodiesel production
- 16.5 pounds of biogenic carbon dioxide for food, beverage and chemical manufacturing
In 2018, the U.S. ethanol industry generated a record 41.3 million metric tons (mmt) of distillers grains, gluten feed and gluten meal. In addition, the industry also produced nearly 4 billion pounds of corn distillers oil, used as a feed ingredient or biodiesel feedstock.
Now fully under the regulatory oversight of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, ethanol plants are required to comply with preventive controls requirements as mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
This federal rule requires covered facilities to follow current good manufacturing practices for animal food production and have a written food safety plan that includes an analysis of hazards and risk-based controls. These preventive controls provide a formal assurance to buyers around the world that American ethanol co-products continue to be safe feed ingredients.