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Canadian ethanol producer utilises by-products to expand to biogas production

Canadian ethanol producer Calgren Renewable Fuels has invested in key co-products to sell in addition to its 58 million gpy ethanol output.

The Calgren plant, located in Pixley, California, was the state’s first when it was built in 2009.

Today, the company also sells 400,000 tpy of distiller’s grain for use as animal feed to local dairies and feedlots as well as 1.5 million gallons of corn oil that serves local poultry producers and biodiesel facilities.

Calgren uses dairy manure biogas, made at the company’s new digester, to fire the boilers at the refinery, turning a waste product into a useful low-carbon fuel with the heat generated also making electric power.

As by-product of that process, the dried manure solids that are discharged at the back end of the digester cycle, are trucked back to a dairy every day to be used as bedding for the herd.

Now, Calgren is adding another by-product of the process, namely electricity generated from the expanded cogeneration operation.

The company produces 11MW of electric power, which is used in the manufacturing process, to run the refinery.

The plant is now self-sufficient and is not connected to the electric grid, company president Lyle Schlyer told Visalia Times-Delta.

Starting in June, Calgren will be selling 5MW of excess power to Southern California Edison, enough to power 900 homes or all the residences in Pixley.

Schlyer said Calgren has been working toward the goal of selling power to the utility and finally the law and regulatory rules are helping it to happen.