Tharaldson Ethanol to utilize city wastewater

By Nicholas Zeman | August 27, 2007
From a project development standpoint, managers of a 100 MMgy plant under construction in Casselton, N.D., chose the site for its access to some unique amenities offered by the southern Red River Valley. In an innovative arrangement, Bruce Grubb, enterprise director for the city of Fargo, N.D., said all agreements have been finalized for the construction of pipelines between the city wastewater treatment plant and the site of Tharaldson Ethanol LLC.

This wastewater stream will be used for the processing needs of the ethanol facility. "We have a very aggressive schedule and hope to have the pipelines built by next fall," Grubb said. "Instead of Tharaldson using a natural surface water, we will supply a city waste stream for their processing needs." Grubb added that this is the first utilization of wastewater in such an application.

Russ Newman, Tharaldson Ethanol's vice president of operations, said the plant is a welcome value-added enterprise for the area's farmers, who feel they've been left out of the ethanol boom but now have a nearby outlet for their corn. "I was at a baseball game [recently] and started talking to this guy, a corn farmer, who mentioned the Tharaldson plant going up, and I let him go for a little while before I told him that I was involved," Newman said. "So from what he was saying, I think there certainly is a level of local excitement surrounding [the construction of the plant]."

Because Casselton is a stop for the Red River Valley & Western Railroad (RRVWR), the town has transportation access to Fargo, a metropolitan market that uses over 60,000 gallons of ethanol per day, as well as several highly productive corn-growing communities in southern North Dakota. "It's really fortunate for us to have access to this unique short line railroad," Newman said. Currently, the RRVWR doesn't service any ethanol plants, but the facilities under construction in Casselton and Hankinson, N.D., will be welcome new business. "We're looking forward to getting them on line," said Andy Thompson, president of RRVWR, based in Wahpeton, N.D. "At the present time, we don't service any ethanol plants, but a number of them keep popping up, and there is kind of an ethanol mania right now."

At press time, Mike Pederson, project manager for Wanzek Construction Inc. in Fargo told EPM that site work at Tharaldson Ethanol is ongoing, adding that foundations for the fermentor and cooling tower are being poured. Also, underground utilities are being installed, and temporary facilities are being erected. The process technology for the facility was designed by Vogelbusch USA Inc.

There are four other ethanol plants currently operating in North Dakota: Red Trail Energy LLC in Richardton, Blue Flint Ethanol LLC in Underwood, Archer Daniels Midland Co. in Walhalla and Alchem Ltd. LLP in Grafton. U.S. BioEnergy Hankinson is currently under development in Hankinson.