Techno-economic feasibility of phosphorus recovery as a coproduct from corn wet milling plants

Ankita Juneja, Navneet Sharma, Roland Cusick, Vijay Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and objectives: Wet milling (WM) plants contribute to both point source and nonpoint source phosphorus (P) pollution by concentrating P in the coproduct corn gluten feed (CGF), the majority of which is undigested when consumed by ruminants, leading to manure management concerns. Phosphorus runoff from the manure consequently causes eutrophication in the water bodies downstream. This study investigates the economic feasibility of recovering the phosphorus at the front end from light steepwater to reduce P in CGF. Findings: The amount of phosphorus in CGF was observed to reduce from 11.94 mg/g (db) to 2.44 mg/g (db), with phosphorus removal in the recovery unit calibrated with laboratory experiments. Direct fixed capital cost of $6.9 MM was estimated for the phosphorus recovery unit in an existing WM plant. Conclusions: With a phosphorus recovery rate of 0.17 MT/hr, the operating cost of P recovery at the front end was estimated to be $1.23/kg-P removed. Significance and novelty: Ramifications of excess phosphorus in CGF on environment are an important understudied area. This study provided economic and technical feasibility of phosphorus recovery from CGF in WM industry, consequently producing a new coproduct and reducing the environmental burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-390
Number of pages11
JournalCereal Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • corn gluten feed
  • corn wet milling
  • phosphorus recovery
  • techno-economic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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