Transforming the Renewable Fuels Industry

By Scott Kohl, PhD – Chief Technology Officer at VFT

Visionary Fiber Technologies, Inc. (VFT) has developed a propriety Distillers Corn Oil (DCO) purification process, utilizing its Fiber Reactor (FR) technology.  The output DCO (clean DCO) is a new-to-market purity, absent of contaminants that cause catalyst fouling.  Technical performance of the technology is guaranteed.  There are two full-scale systems currently deployed in Midwestern ethanol plants with each system having multiple years of demonstrated performance.

Technology Overview

The FR technology utilizes stainless steel fibers to create repeating micrometer thick ribbons of oil and aqueous solvent.  The physical constraints of the reactor allow two immiscible materials to be in intimate contact as the liquids pass through the length of the reactor column.  In the case of DCO purification, the FR is a highly efficient medium for aqueous refining.  The technology benefits the end-user with reduced carbon intensity and operating expenses.  The FR relies on input material pumps and gravity to move liquids through the reactor, reducing moving parts and maintenance costs.

Value Proposition 

The clean DCO from VFT’s FR technology is a superior quality product on the commodity marketplace, with an estimated value lift of $0.045/lb in comparison to currently available-to-market DCO.  The FR technology offers an immediate additional operating revenue stream for its end-users via value derived from a new-to-market quality tier of refined DCO.  Clean DCO is proven to reduce downstream operational inefficiency related to the fouling of refining catalysts and correlated consumable and maintenance expenses in the RD and SAF markets.  Product specifications, shown below, are obtained in the absence of centrifugation or physical sorbents such as bleaching clays.  As bleaching clays and silica are not used, the associated yield loss and waste disposal costs with sorbents are avoided.

The only consumable in the process is water.  During processing, approximately 0.5 mass units of water per mass units of oil cleaned is used to “wash out” contaminants from the DCO which poison RD and SAF catalysts.  For ethanol plants, this water can be seamlessly recycled back into the ethanol process streams becoming part of the makeup water for the mash bill.  The materials removed from the DCO are minerals that are ultimately deposited into the distiller’s grains from the plant, thereby having useful sales value.  The ability of the ethanol plant to reuse the water rather than treat it as a wastewater disposal issue gives a significant operational advantage to cleaning up DCO at the ethanol site.  This advantage produces an opportunity for a low-cost value add for ethanol plants that on-site treatment by RD or SAF plants cannot achieve.

Equipment Lease

The FR technology offering is available to ethanol plants in the form of a $0 down lease.  Operating lease expenses equate to monthly revenue share between VFT and end-users, as a variable of revenue lift derived by the lessee in excess of currently available-to-market DCO.  The offering structure requires no capital outlay for end-users, and results only in an additional income source for the lessee.  Recently, crude DCO has experienced a market price decline.  Considering the current DCO value, clean DCO is estimated to enhance marketable price by a delta of more than 10% that of crude DCO.

Processing & Analytical Procedures:

Crude DCO (A) was water washed through VFT’s FR technology utilizing an optimized water wash process, and the Single Pass Clean DCO (A) was analyzed post-processing and settling with no further manipulation.

Crude DCO (B) was water washed through VFT’s FR technology utilizing standard water wash process, and the Single Pass Clean DCO (B) was analyzed post-processing and settling with no further manipulation.  The Double Pass Clean DCO (B) was analyzed after a second identical pass through the FR and analyzed after centrifugation to reduce water content.

If you interested in additional information please reach out to Scott Kohl @

2560 1387 VFT
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