- PCC facility can process 1,100 mt of canola per day.
- CEO says production timeline "ahead of schedule."
- Full commercial-scale operations planned for first quarter.
CANADIAN pulse and oilseed processor Legumex Walker announced Jan. 8 that it had successfully commissioned the crushing equipment at its Pacific Coast Canola (PCC) processing facility in Warden, Wash., and commenced production of canola oil and meal during the final week of 2012.
In announcing its first sale and shipment of canola oil and meal, Legumex chief executive officer Joel Horn said the PCC facility, which is capable of processing 1,100 metric tons of canola per day, is now processing canola seed.
"We are thrilled to have the PCC facility in service producing super-degummed, expeller-pressed canola oil and canola meal so quickly and ahead of schedule," he said.
The plant, 85% of which is owned by Legumex and 15% by Glencore Grain Investment, is scheduled for full commercial-scale operations in the first quarter of 2013.
"We were able to move from commissioning of the core processing equipment to production and shipping faster than anticipated," Horn said. "We are achieving continuous throughput levels well in excess of our initial targets for the start-up period, and the quality of the initial oil is better than expected at this stage."
Horn said the plant's operations are now focused on ramping up production to commercial-scale capacity, which will yield roughly 400 mt of high-grade canola oil per day.
Legumex said the PCC facility in Warden is the first commercial-scale canola processing operation west of the Rocky Mountains.
According to Crown Iron Works, the developer and provider of PCC's preparation, pressing and extraction processes, the PCC operation set a new record for the time needed to transition from commissioning to production; it produced salable oil and meal within 36 hours from the time canola started running through the expellers.
Legumex is betting on continued growth in canola oil demand as the company expects food processors to respond to consumer preferences for healthier oils.
Canola oil currently comprises only 10% of the U.S. edible oil market, compared to 70% in Canada, but canola's share is growing. From 2005 to 2011, canola oil consumption in the U.S. increased by more than 80%.