Duel Fuel–Colocating Ethanol, Biodiesel
by Keith Loria (Ethanol Producer Magazine) Biodiesel tanks are popping up in the tank farms at some ethanol plants these days. — During the past decade, there has been a great deal of innovation and thought put into the synergies between ethanol and biodiesel production, as plants share infrastructure and process essentials. Colocating biodiesel production at an ethanol plant also could be considered a good hedge for an ethanol plant, adding value to the corn oil produced and supplying a different segment of the fuel market.
For ethanol producers, it means greater diversification and better fulfillment of the renewable fuel standard’s (RFS) vision, bringing in revenue from biodiesel sales and D4 RIN generation (the renewable identification numbers needed by obligated parties to demonstrate RFS compliance). Always looking for new opportunities, the ethanol industry is keeping an eye on the first adopters. In this issue, Ethanol Producer Magazine checks in on several projects.
WB Services recently completed a 2 MMgy biodiesel plant at Adkins Energy LLC in Lena, Illinois. “The biodiesel plant is adjacent to Adkins’ ethanol plant and the two are integrated through several stretches of piping,” says Ray Baker, general manager at Adkins. “It is sized for a capacity of 2 MMgy per year, which is closely matched to our corn oil output and local market demand for biodiesel.”
Adkins has been producing biodiesel for about one year, he says, running both a traditional chemical and new enzymatic process.
WB Services has two other projects under construction, both 3 MMgy renewable diesel plants at Kansas ethanol plants. East Kansas Agri-Energy LLC was expected to begin operations early this year and the project at Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy LLC is expected to wrap up in the second quarter.
Like WB Services, Ohio-based Jatrodiesel is offering two technologies for biodiesel production colocated with ethanol production. The company has built two plants that now are in production—Mid America Bio Energy, North Platte, Nebraska, and CHS-Patriot at Annawan, Illinois, says Raj Mosali, CEO. The MABE plant is using traditional biodiesel technologies with acid and base catalysts in a continuous process, while the CHS-Patriot facility is using Jatrodiesel’s trademarked Super technology, a continuous process with no catalyst.
The CHS plant is slated to use corn oil as its primary source of feedstock, but it will be able to process other feedstocks if, and when, CHS decides to use them, including used cooking oil, animal fats, yellow grease, brown grease, virgin oils, palm oil, coconut oil. Even algae can be processed when it is available in the future in larger volumes.
One other biodiesel plant has come online in the past year. In Madrid, Nebraska, Mid American Agri Products-Wheatland LLC developed its biodiesel technology in-house with the support of an Omaha engineering firm, explains Robert Lundeen, CEO of the 48 MMgy ethanol plant.
The 3 MMgy biodiesel plant was started up in the third quarter of 2015 and has sold biodiesel, although the company is still fine-tuning operations. The company plans to ramp up or slow down biodiesel production depending on market conditions.
“There are times that we may want to make biodiesel with our corn oil and there are times that it’s best for us to sell our corn oil to the feeding operations around,” Lundeen says, noting that there is good demand from the local feed market for corn oil. READ MORE