More Chronicles of CI Reduction

Ethanol Producer Magazine's Editor previews the May issue, which includes a profile on Calgren Renewable Fuels; the industry's continued adoption of solar and wind power; recovering energy from DDGS dryer exhaust; and ICM's high-protein platform.
By Tom Bryan | April 20, 2022

Not wholly by coincidence, three of the four features in this issue cover recent investments by ethanol plants to reduce fossil-based energy use and attain lower carbon intensity (CI) scores: the utilization of biogas, dryer exhaust energy recovery and onsite solar and wind power. But even this month’s outlying story about ICM’s high protein feed system isn’t out of place in our low-CI theme.

These clean energy stories came together more by happenstance than design, as we initially planned to cover the lead piece on biogas and renewable natural gas (RNG) two months ago. As it were, our story on Calgren Renewable Fuels’ success with biogas in California is a perfect match for May, which gets awesome exposure at the International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo (FEW), taking place June 13-15 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In “Cleaning Up In California,” we set out to broadly cover biogas utilization for combined heat and power (CHP) in biorefining, but ended up focusing entirely on Calgren—save a sidebar on its Golden State counterpart, Aemetis, which is also using biogas for power and making RNG. The story describes Calgren’s special biorefinery in the lower Central Valley, which makes ethanol, biodiesel and RNG. The volume of the latter, Calgren’s president tells us, “just keeps growing.”

In “Scoring Returns with Renewables,” we offer an exclusive first look at the wind turbine recently installed at Western Plains Energy in Oakley, Kansas, and a bevvy of renewable energy projects at Aemetis in Keyes, California. Like biogas and cogeneration, wind and solar continue to attract the interest of ethanol producers. A few years ago, WPE created a separate entity focused solely on wind power, allowing its shareholders and other investors to participate. Late last year, a 2.7-megawatt turbine was commissioned (see cover). Aemetis isn’t involved with wind, but nearly every other renewable—solar, biogas and hydroelectric. It’s fascinating that two plants 1,300 miles away from each other are on the leading edge of the industry’s effort to reduce or eliminate fossil fuels from biorefining.   
Jumping ahead (pun intended) to “Recovering to Reduce,” a story on Bioleap, we look at an existing technology that enables ethanol producers to capture and utilize waste heat from their DDGS dryer exhaust. A proven CI-score reducer already, the Dryer Exhaust Energy Recovery, or DEER, system reduces ethanol plant energy use by over 20%—while lowering water use, too. The DEER system has been around a while—it’s well tested—garnering strong endorsements from producers that have installed it, and keen interest from those who still might.

Finally, we bring you “Equipping for High Protein,” a deeper dive into ICM’s Advanced Processing Package. Throughout the first half of 2022, our magazine helped produce a series of webinars about APP—which includes a host of customized specialty equipment that’s been thoroughly explained in our webinars and, now, in this magazine. By the time this issue is printed, ICM’s fourth APP-related webinar will have aired. The topic of that presentation—still available online—is “Lowering Your Carbon Score While Diversifying Revenue.”

Hey, maybe that story isn’t an outlier.

Author: Tom Bryan
Contact: [email protected]