In July 2013, we reported on the potential that distiller’s grain has for furfural production. The smart integration of furfural production into the mass and energy balance (The-Right-Balance™: in this case of a corn ethanol plant) results in energy savings, an additional saleable product (furfural) and an improved end product (in this case animal feed). These improvements were highlighted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA) in a process and economic study:
Furfural was produced from DDG while animal feed value of DDG was also retained.
Furfural was produced through dilute acid reaction followed by batch or BRD process.
BRD was superior to batch method in furfural yield and purity.
The economic model predicted an increased profitability for corn ethanol plants.
Animal feed yield was crucial to the economy of the furfural conversion process.
The basis of their economic evaluation is based on assuming favourable inputs (e.g. highest furfural price, best yields, experimental laboratory and mathematical modelling conditions, etc.).
Our review this publication, against our practical furfural processes experience, predicts a lower benefit than the study suggests.
However, it is important to note that there is certainly a benefit (!) and, in addition, there are other untapped downstream revenue potentials.
For our clients, we publishes a critical review on this paper and, in our view, a more realistic re-evaluation of this great economic potential.
Biomass for furfural production: Distiller’s Grain
 dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.indcrop.2014.02.025, Co-production of feed and furfural from dried distillers’ grains to improve corn ethanol profitability, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706, United States