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.