Corn Plus, a 49 million gallon ethanol plant in Winnebago, Minnesota, has been granted an energy efficiency award. Shared-savings programs are offered by Alliant. They include low-cost financing and financial incentives to help purchase new energy efficient equipment.
There were three major projects that Corn Plus has taken on since 2004 that apply toward the shared-savings energy efficiency projects: a fluid bed reactor which has saved the company $24 million over the past four years; the use of variable frequency drives instead of standard motors which cut the company’s energy use by 35 percent and saved about $200,000 in the past four years; and the ethanol plant’s choice of a distillation upgrade which allowed them to grind the same amount of corn and produce more alcohol.
“Through these programs, that’s how we were awarded for energy efficiency,” said Keith Kor, general manager of Corn Plus.
The plant has taken small steps, too, to improve its efficiency: updating its lighting; installing energy-efficient centrifugal fans and compressed air; and adding a palletizing plant and ash plant.
Alliant estimates all those improvements have saved the company 37.5 million kWh of electricity – enough to power 3,906 typical homes for a year.
“We’re looking at another project that will help reduce our natural gas and increase energy savings and another to reduce our water usage,” Kor said. “There will be less evaporation load on our cooling towers. They’re not evaporating as much water – they don’t need to take up as much water in the cooling process.”
The energy efficiency awards were given to five businesses.