Would the process work for flours of different particle size distributions? Yes. The sieving step of the process is designed to take care of this. Though fiber can be separated from flours of any size distribution, separation is more efficient at coarser sizes. If particle size of flour is very low, it would be better from a separation efficiency point of view to grind the flour coarser and use a second hammer milling step (after the separation process) to grind coarser fractions to match flour size to what it would have been originally.

Fractionation processes have been developed in the past, but have not been economical in industrial scale. What is it that makes this process unique enough to become implementable and feasible in industrial scale? Most fractionation processes in the past attempted to fractionate germ/oil and fiber before fermentation. This additional step of germ separation made the processes capital intensive and therefore uneconomical. Most of those processes were wet or at least incorporated a tempering step, which made it necessary to dry the coproducts before they were sold. This put a burden on the operating costs also. The process used by Weighty Corn does not have a germ separation step and moreover, the capital requirement is minimal.

How can this process be economically beneficial if there is some loss of starch, even though the loss is marginal? The separation process is beneficial only if ethanol production is increased in an existing ethanol plant by increasing the corn throughput. The higher ethanol production results in higher profits because the value of ethanol is high relative to the value of corn. The process will not be economical if the plant does not increase corn throughput. The loss of starch in this scenario, though marginal, will cause a marginal decrease in ethanol production and hence, will not be economically beneficial at current fiber prices. Currently, fiber prices are similar or a little higher than corn price. Fiber value will be higher when value added products such as cellulosic ethanol, polymer composites, prebiotics and chemicals are produced from fiber.