POET is adding new combined heat and power energy generation systems to six of its biorefineries located in Ohio and Indiana. The new systems, that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve ethanol’s environmental footprint, will reduce the ethanol plants’ reliance on electrical energy grid as well as recover waste energy to be used in the plants.
The system will use steam produced in a turbine to generate electricity to run the plant and recover waste energy from the turbine to meet additional energy demands. According to POET, this is an advantage because its makes dual use of the energy used to power the ethanol process. All of the ethanol facility upgrades are expected to be complete in 2017.
“This is very exciting for POET and renewable fuels. We are already much better than gasoline in overall emissions. Finding ways to make additional use of steam is a great opportunity to improve our environmental footprint even more,” said POET CEO Jeff Broin. “Ethanol today is a clean, renewable biofuel that reduces cancer causing aromatics in gasoline, and with upgrades like this we will continue to become even more environmentally friendly.”
POET already employs a number of strategies to lower energy use in its biorefineries. The patented BPX process uses enzymes instead of heat for fermentation. Additionally, heat is shared between processes such as distillation and evaporation to get maximum production with the minimum amount of energy use.