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Nebraska company turns ethanol by-products into dry cattle feed

A Nebraska, US, company has found a way to make dry cattle feed pellets from an ethanol by-product without adding any binding ingredients.

Platte Valley Distillers told AP news agency it has secured the rights to a patented technique that will allow it to make feed pellets in Lexington that can be easily transported for possible export.

Ethanol plants routinely sell distillers grain as a livestock feed, but their market tends to be limited to the area near their plants because wet distillers’ grain can be costly to ship and the dry version of the feed tends to fall apart or spoil.

Tom Kruml is one of the co-owners of Platte Valley Distillers, and he says the company can make distillers grain denser, so it can be formed into a pellet or cube.

Specialised equipment will be used to press distillers’ grain into a cube and apply heat to form a protective outer layer, with corn oil in the feed helping to seal the cube.

In addition to making the feed pellets, the company will also sell the equipment to other firms that want to make the feed pellets.

The project recently received an investment from CEI Capital Management in Maine that also promised to help the Nebraska operation secure tax credits.

The investment will allow Platte Valley Distillers to get its plant running and hire about 12 people.

CEI Capital CEO Charlie Spies said the project will help the economy in rural western Nebraska and help make an innovative idea happen.

"Platte Valley Distillers is converting a by-product into treasure for employees, its community, the agri-business industry, and ultimately, consumers who benefit with foodstuff having better nutritional value," Spies said.