Green Plains is a company focused on risk management, operational excellence and safety. We are the fourth largest producer of ethanol in North America and we are energized by a clear purpose: harvest the energy locked up in a single kernel of corn.
We operate a total of 12 ethanol plants in Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana and Tennessee, with approximately 1 billion gallons of total ethanol production. At capacity, these plants collectively will annually process approximately 10 million tons of corn, 250 million lbs of corn oil and 2.9 million tons of distillers grains. We market and distribute over a billion gallons of ethanol and have grain storage capacity of almost 31 million bushels.
We intend to continue to take a disciplined approach in evaluating new opportunities related to potential acquisition of additional ethanol plants by considering whether the plants fit within the design, engineering and geographic criteria we have developed. We also plan to continue to grow our downstream access to customers and are actively seeking new marketing opportunities with other ethanol producers. Additionally, we are a partner in a joint venture, BioProcess Algae LLC, formed to commercialize advanced photo-bioreactor technologies for the growing and harvesting of algal biomass.
Ethanol Plant Aquisitions
Million tons of distillers grains annually
We are North America's fourth largest ethanol producer. We operate twelve ethanol plants in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and Tennessee. We have the capacity to consume approximately 360 million bushels of corn per year and produce over one billion gallons of ethanol and approximately 2.9 million tons of distillers grains annually.
The capacity to produce approximately
We operate corn oil extraction systems at our ethanol plants, with the capacity to produce approximately 250 million pounds annually. The corn oil systems are designed to extract non-edible corn oil, a value-added product, from the whole stillage immediately prior to production of distillers grains. Industrial uses for corn oil include feedstock for biodiesel, livestock feed additives, rubber substitutes, rust preventatives, inks, textiles, soaps and insecticides.
8 BLENDING OR TERMINALING FACILITIES WITH APPROXIMATELY
Our in-house marketing business is responsible for the sale, marketing and distribution of all ethanol, distillers grains and corn oil produced at our ethanol plants. We also market and provide logistical services for ethanol and other commodities for a third-party producer. We purchase and sell ethanol, distillers grains, corn oil, grain, natural gas and other commodities and participate in other merchant trading activities in various markets. Additionally, our wholly-owned subsidiary, BlendStar LLC, operates eight blending or terminaling facilities with approximately 822 million gallons per year, or mmgy, of total throughput capacity in seven south central U.S. states. To optimize the value of our assets, we utilize a portion of our railcar fleet to transport crude oil for third parties.
8.2 MILLION BUSHELS OF STORAGE CAPACITY AT OUR GRAIN ELEVATORS
22.6 MILLION BUSHELS OF STORAGE CAPACITY AT OUR ETHANOL PLANTS
Within our bulk grain business, we have four grain elevators with approximately 8.2 million bushels of total storage capacity. Our ethanol plants have approximately 22.6 million bushels of storage capacity. We believe our bulk grain business provides synergies with our ethanol production segment as it supplies a portion of the feedstock for our ethanol plants.
We believe risk management is a core competency of ours. Our primary focus is to lock in favorable operating margins whenever possible. We do not speculate on general price movements by taking significant unhedged positions on commodities such as corn, ethanol or natural gas. Our comprehensive risk management platform allows us to monitor real-time commodity price risk exposure at each of our plants, and to respond quickly to lock in acceptable margins or to temporarily reduce production levels at our ethanol plants during periods of compressed margins. By using a variety of risk management tools and hedging strategies, including our internally-developed real-time operating margin management system, we believe we are able to maintain a disciplined approach to risk management.
We have demonstrated the ability to make strategic acquisitions that we believe create synergies within our vertically-integrated platform and enhance our ability to mitigate risks. Our balance sheet allows us to be selective in that process. Since our inception, we have acquired or developed twelve ethanol plants in addition to upstream grain handling and storage businesses and downstream blending and distribution businesses. We installed corn oil extraction technology at each of our ethanol plants to generate incremental returns from this value added product. We believe such acquisitions, developments and improvements have been successfully integrated into our business and have enhanced our overall returns.
All of our plants are staffed by experienced industry personnel. We focus on continuous incremental operational improvements to enhance overall production efficiencies, and we share operational knowledge across our plants. Using real-time production data and control systems, we continually monitor our plants in an effort to optimize performance. We believe our ability to improve operating efficiencies provides an operating cost advantage over most of our competitors. In turn, we believe we are well positioned to increase operating margins for any facilities that we may acquire in the future.
We believe our operations throughout the ethanol value chain reduce our commodity and operating risks, and increase our pricing visibility and influence in key markets. Combined, we believe our agribusiness, ethanol production, corn oil production, and marketing and distribution segments provide efficiencies across the ethanol value chain, from grain procurement to blending fuel. Our agribusiness operations help to reduce our supply risk by providing grain handling and storage capabilities. Using our logistical capabilities and expertise, we market and distribute ethanol, distillers grains, corn oil and other commodity products. Our corn oil systems are designed to extract non-edible corn oil that has multiple industrial uses. Our blending and terminaling facilities allow us to source, store, blend and distribute ethanol and biodiesel across multiple states.
Our senior management team averages approximately 25 years of commodity risk management and related industry experience. We have specific expertise across all aspects of the ethanol supply, production, and distribution chain—from agribusiness, to plant operations and management, to commodity markets and risk management, to ethanol marketing.