Saturday, June 18, 2011
This autumn, Atlantic Canada’s first fuel ethanol plant, a 300,000 litre/year pilot operation at Milford, Nova Scotia, has set out on an important production journey that could see the establishment of a number of profitable energy beet biorefineries throughout Canada and the U.S.
For the next 6-8 months, Atlantec Bioenergy's staff at the $10 million research facility will operate a modular system of integrated equipment — which includes a mobile feedstock cleaning unit, juice extraction equipment, fermentation tanks, process controls, dehydration equipment, an anaerobic digester, and a nutrient refinery.
With a juice-based sugar feedstock, Atlantec’s industrial energy beet system employs fewer processes than starch conversion corn ethanol technology and a lot less energy — 9,700 BTUs per litre of ethanol versus 32,500 BTUs for corn ethanol.
The company intends an energy self-sufficient operation by gassifying pulp for both heat and electricity production. It will also be 100% water self sufficient because beets are 75% water (corn is 15%).
The 2010 growing season saw 240 acres of energy beets grown, producing 35 tonnes of the high sugar yield beets per acre.
Success this year will open the doors to construction of a 20 ML plant in New Brunswick, possibly followed by a 60 MG plant in Pennsylvania, adding jobs, providing clean fuel, and helping to create energy independence for North America.