GPSI to Rely on Waste Heat, Biodiesel and Cellulosic Ethanol to Reduce Process CO2 Emissions in Biodiesel Plants
Green Star Products (GPSI) says that it will build the first biodiesel plant to emit almost zero net carbon dioxide from direct plant production of biodiesel by relying on waste heat from a power plant, by using biodiesel to generate its own process power, and by using cellulosic ethanol rather than methanol for use in the production process itself.
Some biodiesel production facilities use heating input from natural gas, electricity from local utilities and methanol in the chemical process. To reduce the operational generation of CO2—and thereby greatly improve the “well-to-wheels” carbon profile of its biodiesel—GPSI is replacing those fuels and the alcohol with biofuels.
The company uses a proprietary continuous flow waterless process that requires less than one-third the electrical energy to operate versus existing batch plants. GPSI decided it could use its own electric generators, fueled by its own biodiesel. Existing electrical utility connections will only serve as an emergency backup service.
The planned biodiesel facility—which will be in Glenns Ferry, Idaho—is located within 200 yards of a co-generation steam power plant. GPSI is negotiating to utilize some of the waste heat from that plant. GPSI will run its own boilers on biodiesel, which will serve as a backup heat source for its plant.
GPSI will also use ethanol rather than methanol produced from natural gas. Part of the Idaho plant will house an ethanol research facility, which will produce ethanol from a variety of waste products (not corn grain). These will include cellulose ethanol made from switch grass, wood chips and a variety of waste stalks from local farmers.
The research facility will only produce enough ethanol to supply the biodiesel plant for its operations. However, it will be eligible for significant government grants and U.S. Department of Energy low interest loans to demonstrate the ability to produce ethanol from agricultural products.