Argus Biofuels & Feedstocks 2016
October 18-20, 2016 - London UK

Minnesota research facility focuses on sweet sorghum

A shuttered ethanol production research facility is preparing to restart with a new focus of operation. Central Lakes College Ag Center director Bob Schafer said the 100,000-thousand-gallon capacity plant in Staples, Minn., began operating in 1980 as a corn ethanol production research facility and was one of the first stationary production facilities in Minnesota. But in 1983 the facility was abandoned by researchers due to operational difficulties with some of the equipment at the facility and poor ethanol economics. Ready-to-use biomass pellets were left in the biomass boiler, documents were left out on desks and pieces of operational equipment were simply shut off and left to rust.READ MORE

Pennsylvania project uses mine lands for biofuel crops

A project in Pennsylvania seeks to determine if abandoned and active mine lands can be reclaimed and used to grow biofuel crops such as switchgrass and other warm-season grass species. Pennsylvania has about 180,000 acres of abandoned mine land, plus active mine land, that is not being used currently for food, feed or fiber, according to Rick Stehouwer, Penn State professor of environmental and soil science. That degraded land can be used for biomass production, but it needs to be reclaimed first, he said. The project will evaluate the effectiveness of soil amendments, determine whether the land can support biomass crops, and if the crops are cost effective.READ MORE

Plainview Bioenergy reopens

White Energy Inc.'s 110 MMgy Plainview Bioenergy ethanol production plant, located in Plainview, Texas, began grinding corn on Oct. 12 after several months of not producing. "We had little to no trouble starting back up," Chuck Fryar, general manager of Plainview Bioenergy, said. "Today's a fine-tuning day." The plant, built by White Energy of Dallas, began production in April 2008. The plant uses a combination of corn and milo as feedstock for the facility. According to Fryar, the plant typically operates on a 10 percent to 30 percent blend of milo with corn.READ MORE

Kansas Ethanol hosts largest private ethanol fire training

Kansas Ethanol LLC hosted the largest-ever live ethanol burn during a day-long training session for firefighters Oct. 9. The plant constructed four 27-foot diameter pits for the training. Each pit was filled with 600 gallons of ethanol and ignited for firefighters to practice extinguishing the flames with various types of methods. Kansas Ethanol safety manager Jennifer Dellar said that a conversation between herself and the plant's general manager, Mike Chisam, about furthering the facility's stellar safety record led to the initial idea to provide a training opportunity for local firefighters.READ MORE

Altra Nebraska LLC to be sold piecemeal

Maas Companies of Rochester, Minn., will auction the Altra Nebraska LLC 110 MMgy partially-completed ethanol plant on Oct. 28 at 10 a.m. local time onsite at 2182 Road 5600, Carleton, Neb. The plant was available for an entirety purchase through Oct. 13. No party completed the entirety purchase protocol; therefore the plant will be sold piecemeal at auction. The auction manner of sale will include offering all real estate as one tract and the equipment or equipment lots individually. The auction will offer buyers the opportunity to bid in person or live via the internet.READ MORE

Coskata completes semi-commercial cellulosic ethanol plant

Slow and steady wins the race, according to Coskata Inc. CEO Bill Roe. The company, along with strategic investor General Motors Corp. and plasma gasification veteran Alter NRG Corp., officially unveiled its semi-commercial cellulosic ethanol facility near Madison, Pa., on Oct. 15. Though slightly behind the start-up date announced initially, Roe attributed the company's progress to a "hybrid approach" to cellulosic ethanol—a combination of biochemical and thermochemical technologies—and the significance of being truly feedstock flexible.Coskata employs a three-step process technology that is capable of converting multiple feedstocks including woody biomass, agricultural waste, energy crops and construction/industrial wastes into synthesis gas. The syngas undergoes bacterial fermentation using Coskata's proprietary microorganisms, and is converted into ethanol without using enzymes. The entire process reduces greenhouse gasses by about 96 percent compared with gasoline, and uses half the amount of water.READ MORE
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