Corn stalks, distiller’s grains, oat hulls, bean straw, offal, manure, seed chaff …
They are not waste products anymore. And don’t just call them byproducts. The new industry term is “coproducts”— refuse turned into an amazing variety of valuable commercial goods.
There is strong interest in finding uses for what was once considered worthless agricultural waste, says Al Doering, manager of AURI’s coproducts lab in Waseca. Growers, commodity groups, entrepreneurs and manufacturers have come to see the off-shoots of ag production and processing as desirable raw materials with profit potential, he says.
Emerging uses for crop residues, animal waste and other materials include biofuels, feeds and polymers, Doering says. AURI is a state leader in coproduct development, focusing especially on processing and handling challenges. “There are very few facilities like ours around the country, where entrepreneurs can do pelleting and other experimental work on coproducts,” Doering says.
Agricultural Utilization Research Institute
American Coalition for Ethanol
Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Department
Minnesota Agri-Growth Council
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Minnesota Farm and Food Coalition
National Biodiesel Board
University of Minnesota
For 2019 AURI categorized the research priorities into three broad, but distinct groups: Coproducts/Biobased/Renewables, Multi-Disciplinary and Food.
Moisture content is an ongoing issue in agriculture. Many wet biomass feedstocks generally have low value due to the high cost of thermally removing water to utilize the biomass. AURI works with a variety of these biomass feedstocks that contain high moisture contents such as digester solids, food processing waste, and even a variety of crop residues.
AURI client Clean Plus, Inc. (CPI), a West Concord, Minnesota, company that has been in operation since 1982 and boasts about a dozen employees competes for 2018 World Bio Markets Biobased Product of the Year. CPI has several divisions that produce and distribute a variety of products, including Drip Trap® Granules, which are made from corn stalks and are used to contain and clean up spills such as chemicals, oil and fuel.
It has taken a lot of work, dedicated hours and collaborations to advance AURI’s programs and resources from its creation in 1989 to where it is today, but the investment of time, effort and resources is paying off. AURI is experiencing an explosion of innovative agricultural opportunities, especially in the focus areas of food, coproducts […]
BY DAN LEMKE Founders of the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (CVEC) in Benson were among the first to ride Minnesota’s growing ethanol wave. CVEC formed in 1995 and began processing corn into ethanol in 1996, becoming just the fifth enterprise in a state that now boasts 21 corn ethanol plants. CVEC’s Benson facility has the […]