Aventine celebrates completion of natural gas boiler project

By Holly Jessen | August 20, 2014

Aventine Renewable Energy recently held a ribbon cutting celebration Aug. 15 to mark the completion of a project to replace three aging coal boilers with two new natural gas boilers at its Pekin, Illinois, ethanol production complex.

Two large high pressure natural gas boilers purchased from Indeck Power Equipment Co. arrived on site in late February.  The $12.5 million project replaced three aging coal boilers.  “Two stoker boilers are vintage 1944 and the steam boiler 1956 vintage will be permanently retired in the next several weeks,” said Mark Beemer, Aventine's president and CEO.

Various representatives of area businesses and government were in attendance at the ribbon cutting, including the Pekin Fire Department, Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce, representatives of the Pekin mayor and city manager offices, city councilmen and Ameren power company. 

Aventine operates two ethanol plants at the Pekin location. The Pekin complex includes a wet mill ethanol plant, a smaller Fagen Inc.-designed dry mill ethanol plant and a food- and feed-grade yeast plant. The two ethanol plants have a combined capacity of 160 MMgy. 

The company shut down its wet mill plant in Pekin for a week, beginning Aug. 4. During that time, significant work was done on the dryers, the overall plant and new boiler tie ins, Beemer said. A $5.5 million project is currently under way to build a new truck and rail dump. “This will allow the Pekin complex to dump 60 trucks per hour or unload 110 BNSF shuttle trains in less than 15 hours,” he said.

The company recently announced it had restarted its 45 MMgy ethanol plant in Aurora, Nebraska. That facility is co-located with the company’s 110 MMgy facility, which restarted in February. Significant efficiency improvements are being installed at the Aurora complex as well, including a Compuweigh system, scales and other logistical improvements.