April 01, 2011

Dakota Spirit AgEnergy Proposed Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Evolves Into Hybrid Concept Based On Study Results

Dakota Spirit AgEnergy, a proposed cellulosic biorefinery near Spiritwood, N.D., has evolved from a 20 million gallon per year (MGY) cellulosic ethanol plant into a 58 MGY “hybrid” ethanol plant comprised of a 50 MGY dry mill ethanol plant (Phase I) and an 8 MGY cellulosic ethanol addition (Phase II).

The changes are driven in part by the results of a recently completed “Feedstock Supply and Product Marketing Study” that was funded in part by the North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC).

“This project is a good example of our ongoing efforts to create new markets for our farmers, to add value to our quality products, to create new jobs and to help the nation reduce its dependence on foreign oil,” Governor Jack Dalrymple said. “The biorefinery will be part of a larger, integrated energy project that will utilize steam power from Great River Energy’s Spiritwood Station combined heat and power plant.”

The hybrid approach provides better economies of scale – reducing both capital and feedstock costs – and makes a stronger overall project.

The feedstock study showed that Dakota Spirit AgEnergy would need corn stover plus wheat straw from an expanded 100 mile radius to adequately source enough residue material for a 20 MGY cellulosic biorefinery. The amount of residue needed from such a large area was a limiting factor for a plant of this size.

The product market study verified the market values for the three main product streams – ethanol, molasses and lignin – across various market applications.

The 50 MGY conventional ethanol plant would utilize corn to produce ethanol, corn oil and dried distillers grains. The 8 MGY second-generation ethanol plant would utilize corn stover and wheat straw to produce cellulosic ethanol, C5 molasses, and lignin, a boiler fuel.

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