Ethanol plant tour
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Ethanol plant tour

  1. #1
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    Default Ethanol plant tour

    I had this on FB a couple months ago and Ethanol always brings out the best in people so I thought I would share it here.

    We got invited to an open house at the Carbon Green Ethanol plant in Lake Odessa, Mi. in September. What an interesting place and a model of efficiency. They use e
    very part of the corn kernel and sell the distillers grain left over as a high protein cattle feed for the same price they pay per bushel for the corn.
    I run E85 in the boat and they have it right at the plant for .99c / gallon.
    We were asked to bring the boat there as well as some race car guys who run Ethanol.

    Michelle had the boat detailed out better than it was when it was new. :-)
    Their annual output at the plant is 60 million gallons a year.
    That's over 1 million gallons a week. It's hard to comprehend that volume. It's a continuous process 24 / 7
    They also have E98 on site for $ 2.00 / gallon so I got a drum of it.
    It's awesome to me to use a fuel that was made right here locally. The plant is about 30 miles from my house.




    [img]http://i621.photobucket.com/albums/t...g?t=1482770982[/img]

    Their process of running it through the molecular seive at the end of the distilling process to extract the last 4% of water was extremely impressive.
    They had three columns about 8' diameter x 30' tall full of Zeolite and it would switch from column to column as it was charging and regenerating. The ethanol was under 50 psia and 275 degrees. The whole charging and regen cycle was like 12 minutes. During regen it would pull a hard vaccuum on the column and at that temp it would flash the water to steam to dry the Zeolite beads almost instantly.

    I have to admit that after seeing all that and considering my amatuer distillers efforts I felt like the Coyote after the road runner blew past him.
    The technology involved to produce at that level is way over my head.
    Last edited by Mark55; 12-27-2016 at 08:52 AM.
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    Village Idiot fc-Pilot's Avatar
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    Way cool.

    Paul
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    Nice
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    Or Seth, either one Budweiser's Avatar
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    I'm completely jealous Mark. I love industrial processes and would have really enjoyed that plant tour. Thanks for sharing your experience Crazy they can vacuum purge/evacuate/regen that volume of material in less than 12 minutes. I'd like to see THAT pump. Any idea what type of pump is used?

    Way cool!
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    They let me take a picture of the screen that shows the material flow through the Mole Seives.



    If you save the picture and blow it up you can see the temps and pressures of the process.
    I can send the pics to your phone too.

    After seeing how it is done on an industrial scale I can see why I didn't do well with the Zeolite.
    Hard to duplicate the temperatures and pressures as well as the vacuum.
    Note that pressures are in PSIA not PSIG
    That way they can read vacuum too.
    The stuff is expensive too. I just bought 25# and it cost $ 100.
    Last edited by Mark55; 12-27-2016 at 01:45 PM.
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    Loose calcs based on the rate of only a million gallons a week... they're evaporating 50ish gallons of liquid water and evacuating the resultant gas volume (don't want to calc it out, but it's a lot of cubic feet, especially given the temperature) in 12 minutes. Pretty awesome. Tried saving the pic, but the quality is not good enough to read clearly. I get the picture though. The screen looks a lot like the screen of a municipal water treatment plant I toured.
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    I can email you the pic. If you blow it up and see all the numbers it explains it better.
    I think the actual cycle time for the Mole Sieve per column was less than 12 minutes so that was a conservative number as I don't remember the exact cycle time. Using three columns things were happening pretty fast.
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    The zeolite has a water capacity of 25% of it's weight. I don't know how much they had in each tower.

    So the CEO was there when we did the tour and he said they can make money on E 85 at .99c per gallon. Gov't subsidies expired years ago. It's awesome to me to use a fuel that is renewable, grown and made locally.
    Where are the naysayers ?
    Bob would have been on here spewing by now
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark55 View Post
    The zeolite has a water capacity of 25% of it's weight. I don't know how much they had in each tower.
    I just calculated 4% of the per minute breakdown on a million gallons a week... for a rough idea.

    It's amazing that there's margin at a buck a gal. We're getting robbed blind at the liquor store
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    The price of corn is lower than production cost.
    Was there road tax in that .99 ?
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    I don't know. Maybe right at the plant they are exemp because the fuel was never delivered ?

    They have a few gas stations around too and there the price of E85 is around $ 1.42 / gal
    It's interesting because at their gas stations to get the required octane the fuel is all blended with various % of ethanol to get there.
    The only gasoline they have on site is 89 octane.
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