South Dakota Patent of the Month – June 2023

Novita Nutrition, LLC, an animal protein nutrition company in Eastern South Dakota, has developed an impressive method to produce renewable fuel from crude corn oil, a by-product of the dry-grind ethanol process. The company’s NovaOil® is high quality vegetable oil that can be used for feed and renewable fuels production. This newly patented invention opens up new possibilities for sustainable fuel production and contributes to reducing the environmental impact of traditional fossil fuels.

The method begins with the solvent extraction of crude corn oil from by-products like distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) or distillers dried grains (DDG). Novita Nutrition utilizes a non-polar solvent to extract the oil, ensuring the crude corn oil contains free fatty acids within the range of 1% to 15% by weight. The residual level of the non-polar solvent remains at a low and safe range of 1 ppm to 500 ppm. 

To prepare the crude corn oil for conversion into renewable fuel, it undergoes a series of essential steps. First, the oil is pretreated through degumming, separating and removing a gum portion from the crude corn oil portion. Next, the crude corn oil portion is dried under vacuum to achieve the desired water content. This pre-treated and dried crude corn oil portion is then subjected to a conversion process that ultimately yields renewable fuel.

Additional steps enhance the quality of the crude corn oil. The oil is washed with water to remove impurities before the drying process. Moreover, the dried crude corn oil portion is filtered using adsorptive filtration media, such as acid-activated clay or a silica-based product, to further eliminate any remaining impurities.

Novita Nutriotion’s method also prioritizes sustainability throughout the process. They have successfully minimized the phosphorous content in the crude corn oil to a level below 0.05%, ensuring a cleaner and more eco-friendly product. The non-polar solvent used in the extraction process consists of C5-C7 isomers, including n-hexane, isohexane, and their structural isomers.

The potential applications of the renewable fuel produced through this method are vast. It can be utilized as renewable green diesel or further processed into renewable green propane, renewable green naphtha, and renewable green jet fuel. This versatility allows for a wide range of eco-friendly fuel options.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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