Ethanol Production without Fossil Fuels

Jan. 24, 2007 Mead, Nebraska – This $75 million E3 BioFuels plant is the first of its kind in the world.  It operates a patented, closed loop process, eliminating the need for fossil fuels in producing ethanol.

It comes as no surprise that this 24 million gallon per year corn-based ethanol refinery is located in the heart of the cornbelt:  Nebraska, the home of the Cornhuskers, and the second leading state in ethanol production.

What makes this facility special is its closed-loop, self-sufficient operation.  8 million bushels of corn per year is transported to the biorefinery and fed into the ethanol-making process.  A high-protein byproduct, wet distillers grain, is fed to the 28,000 beef cattle in the on-site feedlot.  228,000 tons of cattle manure per year is transported to an anaerobic digester where it decomposes, generating methane.  This methane is captured and burned as fuel to cook the corn in the ethanol process.

The entire operation is environmentally friendly and efficient.  As a standalone process, a feedlot would run the risk of polluting watersheds.  But not here.  Likewise, methane gas from manure normally just drifts up into the atmosphere.  As a greenhouse gas though, methane is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.  Typically, additional energy would be spent drying wet distillers grain to prevent spoilage and to facilitate transportation.  But with cattle just next door, this energy can also be conserved.  Overall, E3’s synergistic design turns each potential cost or hazard into an environmental and economic opportunity.

Click here to see the plant layout:

E3 BioFuels plans to build 15 plants within the next 5 years.

Explore posts in the same categories: biofuels, Conservation, energy, environment, ethanol, global warming, oil

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