MYOB – the new ethanol mantra: modularity, yield, octane, bolt-ons

June 18, 2017 |

In Minnesota, the US ethanol industry is descending upon Minneapolis this week for the annual Fuel Ethanol Workshops, and the theme is efficiency, efficiency, efficiency.  You can feel the “get back to business” vibe, a steel-eyed “if you want a friend for ethanol, you can count on, get a puppy” perspective.

The industry knows that growth must come from better economics that open entry to export markets, decrease reliance on the Renewable Fuel Standard to open and power market access, and allow for increased market share within what has become a large, 15 billion gallon, a $25+ billion economic sector for the US economy.

Accordingly, it’s the era of MYOB, Mind Your Own Business. But it’s really about:

M – Modular

Y – Yield

O – Octane

B – Bolt-on tech

The Modular, Yield, Octane, Bolt-on Backstory

Modular.

What’s powerful in modular technology right now? Fox River Valley Ethanol LLC confirms that it is installing a Whitefox ICE modular bolt-on system at its plant in Oshkosh, WI.  This makes it the first Wisconsin-based ethanol plant to install a Whitefox ICE system to remove process bottlenecks and reduce its energy consumption. The objective is to free up capacity in the distillation-dehydration section to enable an increase in production of up to 15% and reduce steam consumption. This is third  Whitefox ICE installation in the US, following installations at Pacific Ethanol in California and Pine Lake Corn Processors in Iowa.

The Whitefox MBO simplifies the system implementation and installation while reducing delivery times. Whitefox CEO Gillian Harrison says: “We have listened to our customers and the challenges they face with day-to-day operations when installing new equipment. We therefore developed the MBO to reduce on site disruption, shorten the timeline for completion and ultimately reduce the costs to our customers of installing a Whitefox ICE solution”.

Fox River is also the first installation to be based on Whitefox’s modular bolt-on design (MBO) which is pre-fabricated and shipped to site.

Yield.

Why is yield critical now? For one.  $4.33 per gallon value for cellulosic fuels, here.  Speaking of cellulosic, what’s My Feedstock Worth?, here.

But it can be yield enhanced in the conventional ethanol business. Late  last month,  ICM Inc. and NUVU Fuels LLC announced the adoption of ICM’s patented Selective Milling Technology V2 (SMT V2) at both Carbon Green BioEnergy in Lake Odessa, Michigan and Iroquois BioEnergy in Rensselaer, Indiana. These two 55 MGPY production facilities are scheduled to be the first commercial scale adopters of ICM’s new advanced designed SMT V2.

SMT V2 allows plants to produce increases of up to 3 percent ethanol yield and up to 15 percent distiller’s oil recovery, and ultimately, increased revenues. Now with this technological advancement, ICM’s new design provides up to a 50 percent reduction in horsepower, while providing an opportunity to dramatically change the grind profile and to reduce suspended solids throughout the plant.

Octane.

We looked in Depth in Livin La Vida Octane, here. In that article we noted:

By creating a market for biofuels, the Renewable Fuel Standard and the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard are driving benefits to consumers no matter what fuel blend you’re running. As we noted above, ethanol-free fuels cost a lot more, and who knows what fuels would cost if there was not a market choice? But the special beneficiary of high-ethanol blends are higher-compression engines.

Happily, high-compression engines are better for the environment, because they promote fuel economy through higher work efficiency. And here’s a special benefit. High-compression engines have more torque, that’s one of the reasons we love them — the kick that makes you feel like you’re in a race vehicle.

So, you get torque for nothing.  So, when you’re enjoying that incredible extra acceleration and power – just remember that the muscle in your car is actually better for the environment, and provides domestic jobs. So, accelerate in peace.

Bolt-On.

Try this Thought Leadership column from Joel Stone and Daniel Lane for size, Opportunities to Transition Ethanol Facilities to Biochemical Refineries. The authors observed:

With bolt-on technologies, ethanol producers need to look at facility and energy infrastructure to see whether there is existing capacity to install these technologies. For example, even a small bolt-on fermentation process may require more cooling capacity than available, especially during summer months. Producers also need to consider what upstream modifications may be required to produce a clean feedstock for the bolt-on process. These upstream modifications to produce clean sugar streams for renewable chemical production are available today. Downstream separations and purification processes will likely be needed for the bolt-on, and there are numerous proven technologies available.

Opportunities to Transition Ethanol Facilities to Biochemical Refineries

The Fox River backstory

Fox River Valley Ethanol is a 60 million gallon per year Delta T facility located in Oshkosh Wisconsin. It’s the old Utica Energy Ethanol Plant The plant was mothballed back in 2012, acquired, re-started and is back on the move as Fox River Valley Ethanol. Building of the plant began in 2002 and it has expanded over time to meet demand.

The Whitefox backstory

Whitefox Technologies Limited specializes in technology development and process integration based on membranes. The company focuses on efficient, integrated production systems through providing process engineering know-how, as well as membrane module design.

Reaction from the stakeholders

Neal Kemmet, Fox River Valley President and General Manager, commented: “Reducing energy and water consumption at our plant is a priority for us. We followed the Whitefox installation at Pine Lake Corn Processors and it became clear to us that this solution would help us achieve our strategy to increase production, improve energy efficiency and profitability. We are excited about working with the team at Whitefox on a project that will make a real difference.”

Gillian Harrison, CEO of Whitefox says: “Neal Kemmet and his team at Fox River were quick to grasp the benefits of our Whitefox ICE solution and how it could help them to achieve their efficiency targets. We have been impressed by the level of understanding of the team and the drive to continuously improve their operations. This is an important project for Whitefox and we are very pleased that Fox River is the first plant in Wisconsin to take advantage of our membrane solution.”

More on the story.

 

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