Business Briefs

Business announcements from the December issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine, including BASF's new ethanol-to-ethylene catalyst, Honeywell's major SAF technology rollout, Bridgeport Ethanol's entrance into CCS and more.
By Ethanol Producer Magazine | November 16, 2022

BASF catalyst converts ethanol to ethylene
BASF has introduced a new dehydration catalyst to process renewable feedstocks. The novel star-shaped catalyst, dubbed CircleStar, reportedly achieves a 99.5 percent electivity for ethanol-to-ethylene conversion. BASF says CircleStar will lower the carbon footprint of bioethylene-based products—ranging from jet fuel to plastics—by more than 10 percent, while matching the performance of conventional fossil-based ethylene.

“Our novel CircleStar for bioethanol to bioethylene conversion has excellent product properties and helps our customers significantly increase their production efficiency while reducing carbon emissions and supporting their net-zero targets,” said Detlef Ruff, senior vice president, process catalysts at BASF.

Honeywell announces new ethanol-to-jet technology
Honeywell is rolling out a new ethanol-to-jet fuel (ETJ) processing technology that allows producers to convert corn-based, cellulosic or sugar-based ethanol into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Depending on the type of ethanol feedstock used, jet fuel produced from Honeywell's ethanol-to-jet fuel process can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent on a total lifecycle basis, compared to petroleum-based jet fuel.

According to Honeywell, demand for SAF continues to grow, but limited supplies of traditional SAF feedstocks such as vegetable oils, animal fats and waste oils present a supply challenge. “Ethanol offers producers a widely available, economically viable feedstock,” the company stated.

Carbon America adds third ethanol plant to its CCS portfolio
Carbon America has formed an agreement with Bridgeport Ethanol LLC to develop a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at the 53 MMgy ethanol plant in western Nebraska. The project is currently expected to be operational in 2024.

The agreement with Bridgeport Ethanol is the third such agreement announced by Carbon America this year to finance, build, own and operate CCS systems at ethanol plants. In May, the company announced similar agreements with Sterling Ethanol LLC and Yuma Ethanol LLC to develop CCS projects at their respective Colorado-based biorefineries. All three ethanol plants are affiliated with Colorado Agri Products.

EIA: 95 percent of U.S. fuel ethanol moved by rail
Fuel ethanol is second only to coal as the most-transported fuel by rail, according to the U.S. EIA. The agency recently found that 95 percent of all U.S. fuel ethanol deliveries between regions in the first half of 2022 were by rail.

Also, in the same time period, 97 percent of the fuel ethanol delivered by rail in the U.S. originated in the Midwest. Rail accounted for 96 percent of the Midwest’s fuel ethanol deliveries to the East Coast and 90 percent of deliveries to the Gulf Coast. In addition to rail, ethanol is also shipped by truck and barge. Unlike oil and gas, however, it is not transported via pipeline.

EPA approves efficient producer pathway for Nebraska plant
The U.S. EPA has approved an efficient producer pathway for Green Plains Inc.’s 116 MMgy ethanol plant in Central City, Nebraska. The approval allows the facility to generate renewable identification numbers (RINs) for non-grandfathered volumes of ethanol.

Ethanol plants that have approved efficient producer pathways are able to generate RINs for production volumes above those grandfathered under current Renewable Fuel Standard regulations. To qualify for compliance, any new production above the grandfathered gallons must meet a 20 percent greenhouse gas reduction threshold when compared to the baseline GHG of gasoline.

PROtect achieves major safety milestone
PROtect LLC, which has a significant customer base in ethanol production, has announced that it has achieved over 1 million work hours without a lost time incident.

“Every single individual in our company should be extremely proud of PROtect reaching [this milestone],” said Nathan VanderGriend, PROtect president and CEO. “Our business ... [provides] safety reliability and compliance services to a variety of high-hazard industries. The services we provide help keep our customers’ team members and communities safe, their equipment and operations from experiencing catastrophic failure and unplanned downtime. This milestone is proof of our dedication to applying what we deliver externally to our customers, and internally with our team.”