The Sustainable Benefits of Using Distillers Grains in Livestock Feed

Distillers grains, a coproduct of the ethanol production process, have become a staple in livestock feed systems, especially for beef cattle. These grains are rich in protein, fiber, minerals, and fats, making them an ideal dietary supplement for cattle. The energy in distillers grains comes primarily from digestible fiber and fat, which works well with the fiber in forages for better digestion and energy use in cattle. 

Drying processes result in dried variants (DDG and DDGS – dry distillers grains with solubles) that retain their nutritional value and are more easily stored and transported. This means that distillers grains provide not just nutritional benefits, they also foster sustainable and efficient agriculture resources, benefiting livestock producers, and the environment.

ST Equipment & Technology’s Innovation in Distillers Grains Production

Innovation in Distillers Grains Production ST Equipment & Technology (STET) transforms plant-based materials, including distillers grains by enriching protein content. For distillers grains, STET’s technology increases protein content  by over 40% resulting in a high-value, 50% protein feed ingredient.  This transformation occurs rapidly, in fact, in just a split second, as protein is separated from fiber using electrostatics.  Since the technology uses no water, chemicals, or heat, while a new product is created, there is no change in protein quality nor amino acid profile. Furthermore, unlike alternative protein processes, the fat content won’t be reduced. STET’s resulting high protein Corn Fermented Protein (CFP) is differentiated in the market since, along with high protein content, it possesses higher fat and lower fiber desired for monogastric livestock making STET’s CFP ingredient attractive for piglets and poultry, opening new market opportunities.  While there is a lower protein, higher fiber coproduct stream, there is zero waste, as that coproduct remains an excellent feed for cattle. The STET process is based on electrostatic separation, whereby protein and fiber acquire opposite electrical charges. The STET process is entirely dry, continuous, and energy-efficient. Unlike alternative protein processes, STET’s technology operates independent of the ethanol operation.

A Deeper Look Into the STET Separator

A Deeper Look Into the STET Separator
STET’s technology operates on the simple principle that when two unlike materials come into contact, collide, or rub, electrons can be exchanged causing each to develop a charge, one negative and one positive. The true value of STET is separating a high value product stream from one or more lower value residuals.

Simple Science of STET Explained

Just as a balloon rubbed against your hair generates static electricity and attracts your hair, so does the STET separator create an electrical charge. Once charged, the particles can be separated in the presence of oppositely charged electrodes, i.e., electrostatic separation.   STET’s continuous process introduces (feeds) dry powders into a narrow gap between a hi-speed belt that creates great turbulence causing millions of collisions very quickly. As the particles charge, they are attracted to oppositely charged electrodes and swept away to separate product bins by the same belt that started the process. For DDGS and other plant-based meals and flours, it is protein – sharing electrons, and fiber – accepting electrons – that share electrons and charge accordingly.  The entire process happens quickly. Protein and fiber charge and separate into valuable feed or food ingredients in a split second. DDGS and other plant-based meals and flours fed into the STET system are transformed via protein – fiber interaction, separated into high value ingredients for feed and food ingredients and collected in separate bins. 

With its ability to enrich the protein content of distillers grains, STET’s separation technology improves plant profitability. Consuming no water, chemicals, or heat along with little energy and zero waste, the STET process is also highly sustainable. The low energy consumption of the STET separator, using just 1-4 kWh per ton of feed processed, contributes to energy efficiency, a key aspect of sustainable production practices. Moreover, its ability to handle high feed rates continuously with minimal maintenance requirements enhances operational efficiency, making distillers grains an economically viable choice for livestock feed production. 

Benefits of the STET Process

The STET solution to producing high protein CFP product is absolutely unique. In addition to the financial benefits, STET’s process:

  • Produces a differentiated high protein product with higher energy and lower fiber content
  • Is independent form the ethanol operation
  • Modular design and scalable; grow with the market
  • Significantly lower capital hurdle
  • Produces zero waste, both in terms of the products produced, as well as, during start-ups and restarts (remember, the transformation occurs in a split second
  • Easily operated and maintained, often run from a common control room and any required maintenance has zero impact on the ethanol operation
  • Proven robust with 25 years of commercial operation processing 25 million tons in harsh environments globally

By delivering these benefits, ST Equipment & Technology underscores the significant potential for distillers grains to be more than just another commodity, but a high-value, sustainable feed ingredient that expands penetration into and opens higher end feed markets. Contact us today to learn more about how you can add value to your protein meal.