November 24, 2007
So much is being said about the use of fossil fuels in the production of ethanol that I thought it would be interesting to look at some plants that are using alternative energy sources for their production process.
POET - Chancellor, SD
This plant is undergoing an expansion that will allow it to make 100 million gallons of ethanol per year. As part of the expansion a solid waste boiler is being installed that will allow POET to provide about 60% of the energy needs for the plant from the burning of wood wastes from a local pallet company.
POET also announced that it has reached an agreement with the City of Sioux Falls to purchase landfill gas (methane) from the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill. Initially the landfill gas will displace 10% of the plants natural gas needs rising to 30% in 2025 as the volume of gas the landfill creates increases.
POET - Scotland, SD
Scotland is the site of POET's 9 million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol research plant. The plant is now run on biogas produced by the anaerobic digestion of the waste stream left over after cellulosic ethanol has been produced.
Calgren Renewable Fuels - Pixley, CA
52 million gallon per year ethanol plant that uses waste heat from a cogeneration plant at the site to reduce natural gas use by 20 percent and the addition of biogas produced by the anaerobic digestion of cow manure will cut natural gas usage overall another eight percent in the production process.
Blue Flint Ethanol - Underwood, ND
This plant is located next to a coal fired electric producing plant and uses waste heat from that plant to produce 50 million gallons per year of ethanol.
Siouxland Ethanol - Jackson, NE
50 million gallon per year ethanol plant uses methane recovered from a nearby landfill to offset about 10% of it's natural gas requirements.
Corn Plus Cooperative - Winnebago, MN
44 million gallon per year ethanol plant that burns biomass to reduce it's natural gas needs by about 50%. This plant has also installed two electric producing wind turbines that produce about 45% of the plants electrical needs.
Central Minnesota Ethanol Co-op - Little Falls, MN
21.5 million gallon per year plant that uses a biomass gasification system to replace all of it's natural gas needs and also provides about 33% of it's electric needs (through the use of cogeneration). The system uses wood wastes from local industries for fuel.
Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company - Benson, MN
33 million gallon ethanol that is installing a biomass gasification system that will eventually replace about 90% of the plants natural gas needs. The first phase of the process is expected to be completed in early 2008 and will replace about 20% of the plants natural gas needs. The entire project is divided into 3 phases and will take about 3 years to complete.
Abengoa Bioenergy - Colwich, KS
25 million gallon ethanol plant that uses landfill gas from the Brooks Landfill to offset some of it's natural gas needs. Annual natural gas savings are estimated at $1.4 million per year.
Mid-Missouri Ethanol - Malta Bend, MO
40 million gallon per year ethanol plant that is using landfill gas from nearby Shawnee landfill to offset more than 90% of it's natural gas needs.
E3 Biofuels - Meade, NE
24 million gallon per year ethanol plant that uses an anaerobic digester to convert cow manure to methane to power the plant.
E3 had initial problems that limited their production output to about half. The company claims poor construction and has sued the contractor. This lead to E3 filing for bankruptcy and has not resumed production.
Renova Energy - Heyburn, ID
20 Million gallon per year ethanol plant that is using an anaerobic digester to produce methane to displace all of it's natural gas needs and a some of it's electricity. The digester will be fed the thin stillage from the ethanol making process and whey wastes from a nearby cheese plant.
Renova ran into cost overruns on this project and has filed for bankruptcy. The plant is yet to be completed.
Panda Ethanol - Hereford, TX
105 million gallon per year ethanol plant currently under construction. It will use gasified cow manure to provide energy for the production process.
In 2009 Panda ran into cost overruns and the Hereford facility files for bankruptcy. The plant has yet to be finished.