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United Ethanol to generate methane

In an attempt to get more value out of the corn used in its biofuel production facility, ethanol producer United Ethanol is to install an anaerobic digester.

Within a matter of weeks United Ethanol’s anaerobic digestion project will be underway at its 50 million-gallon-a-year ethanol plant in Milton, Wisconsin, US.

Eisenmann Corp. has been contracted to install the biomass equipment, which is expected to be up and running by Q4 2011.

‘It’s a way to extract a little more value out of our inputs – the corn – and make the plant greener and more energy efficient,’ commented the VP of United Cooperative and United Ethanol Alan Jentz.

The new anaerobic digester will produce methane from thin stillage, reducing the consumption of natural gas at the facility by 25%.

In addition to reducing the plant’s carbon footprint the anaerobic digester will also minimise the amount of fermentation solids that need to be recycled, reduce both fermentation inhibitors and evaporator bottlenecks and eliminate syrup load-out.

$2.25 million (€1.6 million) of the $6.75 million project will come from Wisconsin’s economic development tax credits and energy programme, which is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.