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United Ethanol to generate methane

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http://www.biofuels-news.com/industry_news.php?item_id=2784

 

United Ethanol to generate methane

1 November 2010

 

In an attempt to get more value out of the corn used in its biofuel production facility, ethanol producer United Ethanol is to install an anaerobic digester.

 

Within a matter of weeks United Ethanol’s anaerobic digestion project will be underway at its 50 million-gallon-a-year ethanol plant in Milton, Wisconsin, US.

 

Eisenmann Corp. has been contracted to install the biomass equipment, which is expected to be up and running by Q4 2011.

 

‘It’s a way to extract a little more value out of our inputs – the corn – and make the plant greener and more energy efficient,’ commented the VP of United Cooperative and United Ethanol Alan Jentz.

 

The new anaerobic digester will produce methane from thin stillage, reducing the consumption of natural gas at the facility by 25%.

 

In addition to reducing the plant’s carbon footprint the anaerobic digester will also minimise the amount of fermentation solids that need to be recycled, reduce both fermentation inhibitors and evaporator bottlenecks and eliminate syrup load-out.

 

$2.25 million (€1.6 million) of the $6.75 million project will come from Wisconsin’s economic development tax credits and energy programme, which is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

 

I've read about this being done... I'd look for this to be an industry standard.  It makes sense on so many levels.

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I am a little concerned about this one- this plant has had numerous citizen complaints about noise and odors since they are on the edge of town. They will really need to control the digestion process or this could be a problem for them--hopefully it will go well.

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Biogas methane does stink if vented. A sure tell tale if not operating the plant correctly. Same for municipal sewage, farms, and feedlots. But, as I understand a digester operation can minimize odor and process effluent to better waste stream. Something EPA is interested in forcing upon feedlots and sewage treatment.

 

Consider the current practice of cow manure handling reduces the value for field fertility application. Open air storage, run off, venting nitrogen, rain, and aerobic bacteria to name a few.  Consider the tonnage of valuable organic waste pushed to the typical centralize waste treatment plants that suffer under ever increasing regulatory expense and ever more expensive equipment needs. This waste stream powered by gravity and naturally outflows to waterways as the last processing step. Small towns are just about bankrupt with water and sewage costs.

 

Consider, a digester process improves the soil fertility capability of the effluent, the high cost of municipal sewage treatment, and that digester gas can be processed to pipe line quality natural gas.

 

Computer process control and genetic modified bacteria have really pushed quality of digester product. My guess the popularity of this system will increase as the cost will decrease. Municipal waste effluent treatment should be fertile ground for alternative fuel, natural gas, and plant fertility products. Consider how successful/attractive  Milorganite has become to growers. Lawn care in particular are switching from the typical petrol base nitrogen salts fertilizer that actually works to destroy the micro environment of lawn bio's. Also, know the liquid form of this effluent fully loaded with active bacteria a superior product as compared to dry Milorganite.

 

This Friday will visit a large dairy farm that had 2 yr payback on $2 million anaerobic digester investment. They sell NG to power plant as the fuel classified alternative energy. The farm also, utilizes the gas for electric power generation. Farm scale corn ethanol production would appear to be a natural fit considering the digester and WDG consumption capacity in place?

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