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Green Star builds the first biodiesel plant to emit near-zero emissions
We often think of the consumer's role in energy being the critical part of environmental impact -- the burning of the fuel. But the process is equally, if not more important. One California design company has tackled the "system" that produces biodiesel -- and is ushering in a whole new way of looking at alternative fuel production.
It is an established fact that the use of biodiesel fuel in diesel engines will reduce CO(2) Global Warming Gases (by 78% on a life cycle basis).
However, the biodiesel plants that produce biodiesel do emit GWG because they require heating input usually from natural gas, which is not renewable and emits CO(2), and they also require electricity from local utilities, which emit CO(2), and finally the chemical processes uses 10% methanol (wood alcohol) usually supplied from sources outside the U.S. and made from natural gas, all of which add to Global Warming and are not renewable.
The GSPI Consortium considered the elimination of all these factors in the design of their new biodiesel plant; the first of several (see GSPI press release dated August 9, 2006) is located in Glenns Ferry, Idaho. This would make the Idaho plant the first biodiesel plant in the world to operate at close to zero net CO(2) emissions.
Joseph P. LaStella, P.E., President of GSPI, stated, "In order to accomplish this 'Zero Net CO(2)' concept, the following design changes had to be made to the operations of the plant."
First, our proprietary continuous flow waterless process requires less than one-third the electrical energy to operate versus existing batch plants. Therefore, we have decided to furnish our own electric generators, which will run on our own biodiesel.
The existing electrical utility connections will only serve as an emergency backup service.
Second, biodiesel plants require heat for processing. Our boilers will run on biodiesel and will only serve as a backup heat source for the plant.
Our biodiesel facility is located within 200 yards of a co-generation power plant. We are in negotiations to utilize some of the waste heat from that plant. Steam power plants must condense their steam through condensers before it can be reheated and returned to power the steam turbine. GSPI can extract all the heat it needs right before the power plant condensers. Therefore, not only does this utilize waste heat, it also increases the efficiency of the power plant.
Third, the entire biodiesel industry uses methanol in their process to chemically convert feedstock soy oil, canola oil, etc. to biodiesel fuel (which is a methyl ester).
Almost all of the methanol used in the U.S. comes from South American countries and of course is not renewable because it is produced from natural gas.
Methanol is used by the industry because it is less expensive and has some advantages over using ethanol, which can also be used to make biodiesel, except it is much more expensive.
GSPI will use ethanol to process biodiesel and transform the Idaho facility into a 100% renewable one in which 100% of the products are made in the U.S.
Part of the Idaho facilities will house an ethanol research facility, which will produce ethanol from a variety of waste products (not corn). These will include cellulose ethanol made from switch grass, wood chips and a variety of waste stalks from local farmers.
The research facility will only produce enough ethanol to supply the biodiesel plant for its operations. However, it will be eligible for significant government grants and U.S. Department of Energy low interest loans to demonstrate the ability to produce ethanol from agricultural products.
The U.S. Government has launched a massive incentive program to create an industry to produce ethanol from waste agricultural products.
In June 2006, the U.S. Government announced a $160 million dollar research program to investigate the development of ethanol production from cellulose feedstock and as recently as yesterday (August 14, 2006) the U.S. Department of Energy launched a two billion dollar low cost loan guarantee program for clean energy. The program includes cellulose ethanol research.
The GSPI Consortium has extensive experience in producing cellulose ethanol from waste agricultural products and will submit proposals for these extensive Government programs. The most recent patent granted (to a GSPI Consortium partner) in conjunction with producing ethanol and other downstream valuable chemical products from agricultural waste was issued on June 21, 2006 (see press release dated July 7, 2006, titled "Pure Energy Corporation Forms Joint Venture with Green Star Products, Inc. and Bio-Clean Fuels, Inc. to Undertake Integrated Biofuels Production").
Mr. LaStella further stated, "The Idaho facility will be the first of its kind in many aspects. The facility itself is comprised of a 90,000 sq. ft. facility with modern grain holding facilities. It has a 1,000 feet railroad spur and also can unload and load railroad cars and trucks from its elevator facilities."
Glenns Ferry Plant will be an environmental energy firstThe Glenns Ferry Facility will be the first Biodiesel Plant in the World to emit Near Zero net Global Warming Gases.
The facility is located in Glenns Ferry, Idaho, which is an old railroad town and has extensive existing railroad facilities.
The Mayor of Glenns Ferry has welcomed our company and there is also support for the plant at the state level. Much of the biodiesel plant equipment has already been shipped to the site and we are awaiting final approval to start construction. (See pictures at GreenStarUSA.com.)
The Glenns Ferry Facility will have a startup biodiesel production capacity of 10 million gallons per year. However, most of the equipment is designed for a quick expansion as state demand increases. The facility's infrastructure can support 60 million gallons per year capacity, not including the supporting ethanol production.