With the rise in ethanol production, dry mills have increasingly invested in corn oil production to capture the value of this manufacturing coproduct. Cumulative production of inedible distillers-grade corn oil (DCO) increased 15 percent year over year in both 2016 and 2017. DCO traditionally was largely utilized in animal feed but has become a popular feedstock for biodiesel in the last two years. The share of DCO production volume going to biodiesel increased from 30 percent in 2015 to 40 percent in 2016 and was near 50 percent in 2017; utilization set several records in 2017, up to the most recent of 153 million pounds of DCO used in November.
Soybean oil is still the dominant biodiesel feedstock, though: For comparison, soybean oil utilization in November was 591 million pounds, accounting for one out every two pounds of fat used by the industry that month.
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Distillers corn oil, cumulative production
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