A group of Cordoba farmers decided to restart their corn distillation plants to supply the demand for medicinal alcohol, a fundamental ally in the battle to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The establishments, located mostly in the north of Córdoba and in Santiago del Estero, had stopped their production in February, when they were forced to suspend the delivery of the product (ethanol) to the oil companies, due to the lack of profitability of the business. .
The alcohol they produce is a by-product generated by the corn milling process to turn it into balanced feed for cattle.
The companies that make up the provision are Las Chilcas from Córdoba, located in Rayo Cortado; Los Mistoles VG, in Los Mistoles and Establishment Las Peñas, in Berrotarán.
To this are added two in Santiago del Estero: Oleos del Centro, belonging to the head of the Rural Society of Jesús María, Luis Magliano; and the Momba signature plant. Tigonbu, based in Buena Esperanza (San Luis) and owned by a businessman from Río Cuarto, would also be contributing, although in a lower volume.
Until the second month of the year, these companies formed Maíz Energía, a company that had been born to deliver the corn ethanol that they manufactured in their fields to the oil companies for cutting with naphtha for the domestic market. The company had received at the beginning of 2019 the authorization of the National Energy Secretariat to supply 58.8 million liters per year.
However, the lack of profitability (the price they receive for ethanol has been frozen since December) forced the group of producers to stop supplying the fuel market.
“We halted production in February and at the beginning of March we received a call from the Porta company to restart them, this time to allocate production as medicinal alcohol,” explained Andres Aguilar Benítez, director of the Las Chilcas establishment.
The current sale is made at the same wholesale price that the oil companies previously paid: 29.80 pesos per liter; Although the current operation, as producers admit, has lower tax costs that make it less of a deficit.
With the plant working at full capacity, each of the companies is delivering 15,000 liters of alcohol per day.
The Mini Dest, manufactured by the company Porta Hnos, are small modular, automatic and remotely operated distilleries. They are installed in agricultural establishments, to integrate the ethanol production of corn with animal feed, adding value at source.
Each of these modular plants installed in the fields demanded an investment of around 3.5 million dollars.
To produce 15 thousand liters of alcohol per day, these distilleries process 40 tons of corn. From there are obtained, in addition to the liquid, 40 tons of balanced feed for livestock (burlanda) and 1.3 tons of corn oil.