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Chevron Subsidiary to Work on Ethanol Plants

10 October 2006

Chevron Energy Solutions (CES), a Chevron subsidiary that develops energy efficiency and alternative energy projects, will conduct preliminary work to prepare a proposal for the development of efficient ethanol production plants for Ethanex Energy.

Under an agreement with Ethanex, CES will perform engineering, geotechnical studies, site and civil design work in order to prepare a detailed proposal for developing and building the ethanol plants. The proposal will include details necessary for CES to negotiate contracts to engineer, procure and construct for Ethanex at least three biofuel plants by 2008. The plants, to be located in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas, will each produce about 132 million gallons of fuel-grade ethanol annually.

Ethanex is a new company that uses fractionation—a technique that separates corn into bran, germ and endosperm—to lower the cost of ethanol production. By only using the purer starch stream from the endosperm for fermentation, the process helps reduce energy and water needs in ethanol production. Ethanex will use Delta-T’s ethanol production process.

Broin Companies unveiled the first large-scale commercial implementation of fractionation in July 2005. The company had been working with Broin Fractionation—BFRAC—since 2003, and has three plants using the process. Broin received matching grant funds from the US Department of Energy for the development of BFRAC, and has several patents pending related to the technology.

A variety of fractionation processes—both wet and dry—are now in operation or development. These can enhance ethanol yield by 8-27% while also enhancing the recovery and quality of coproducts such as DDGS, according to Vijay Singh, Assistant Professor of Agricultural & Biological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana.

In a pilot project with SEMO Milling, Ethanex is also using a biomass boiler, fueled by bran from the mill, to reduce energy costs compared to a conventional dry mill plant by 50%, according to the company. Ethanex is targeting being the low-cost ethanol producer.

Ethanex also recently announced that it had formed a strategic alliance with the Industrial Investment Council (IIC) in Germany to assist with the establishment of bio-ethanol facilities in that country. The IIC is an investment agency funded by the Federal Government of Germany, five eastern German States and Berlin and whose Board includes the former CEO of Siemens Corporation, President of General Motors Europe, and Director of BASF.

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October 10, 2006 in Ethanol | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

Not crazy about Chevron and ethanol production - but if they have a good low cost process and do not withhold it from the market... Welcome. The annual output of these plants is small, but each gallon of ethanol is generally one less gallon of petro.

Good News - Their are to many players in the bio-fuel market already for anyone to withhold low cost production from hiting the market.

I can see oil companies getting into ethanol. Congress has mandated more ethanol in gasoline nationwide every year and if the oil companies do not make it they have to buy it from someone.

To put the plant output into perspective, if all this ethanol is added to gasoline to make E5 (5% ethanol) then these plants will put out enough to provide nearly 18 million cars worth of fuel a year.

If all those cars were tuned to take advantage of the mild octane boost of 5% ethanol (over standard 89 octane fuel) then that would be quite a significant efficieency improvement.

Andy

Andy, all gas in middle-Arizona as well as most of southern California is E10 and you can still get 87 octane. My understanding is the advantage is they get to waste less energy on refining, since the refined output only needs to be 85.5 - 86 octane prior to ethanol mixing, so even 87 octane E10 still has an energy benefit by not requiring as refined of a gasoline input product.

I was under the impression that ethanol did not have the heat value of gasolne. Would someone know what the BTU figure is? Can ethanol be mixed with diesel fuel? Doug

Why doesn't the RFA (Renewable Fuels Assoc. - the US ethanol lobby) advertise the fact that ethanol saves energy on the refining end?

The Patzeks and Pimentels of this world love to debate how ethanol consumes lots of energy on the front-end. Therfore, is there anyone studying how much energy is saved by ethanol at the back-end (refining)?

This could be quite an argument if it can be quantified...

Doug, ethanol has between 70-75% of the BTU content of gasoline. However, it is an oxygenate and octane booster so there are engine advantages. Also, companies like O2diesel and Xcelplus market diesel fuel with ethanol added to it (usually in quantities of 7.7% plus proprietary chemical additives). You can do a quick search on this website to learn about what these companies are doing.

By the time they get to E10 nationwide, they will need about 4 times the 4.3 billion gallons of ethanol produced now. This is quite a few new ethanol plants that need to be built in a fairly short period of time, if they want to get to E10 across the nation in, say, the next 10 years.

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As I understand it, they plan to start massproduction of these small plants and the plants will be able also to run on food waste, switchgrass etc.

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