LBNL Report Number
Corn wet milling is the most energy intensive industry within the food and kindred products group (SIC 20), using 15% of the energy in the entire food industry. After corn, energy is the second largest operating cost for corn wet millers in the United States. A typical corn wet milling plant in the United States spends approximately $20 to $30 million per year on energy, making energy efficiency improvement an important way to reduce costs and increase predictable earnings, especially in times of high energy-price volatility.
This report shows energy efficiency opportunities available for wet corn millers. It begins with descriptions of the trends, structure and production of the corn wet milling industry and the energy used in the milling and refining process. Specific primary energy savings for each energy efficiency measure based on case studies of plants and references to technical literature are provided. If available, typical payback periods are also listed. The report draws upon the experiences of corn, wheat and other starch processing plants worldwide for energy efficiency measures. The findings suggest that given available resources and technology, there are opportunities to reduce energy consumption cost-effectively in the corn wet milling industry while maintaining the quality of the products manufactured. Further research on the economics of the measures, as well as the applicability of these to different wet milling practices, is needed to assess the feasibility of implementation of selected technologies at individual plants.