Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Midwest Ethanol Could Become A Primary Global Carbon Offset Industry

Omaha, NE— A new technology could soon multiply the amount of biofuels produced in the Midwest while it reduces CO2 emissions that many scientists think negatively impact climate change. Even better yet, the new advanced biofuel can be produced competitively at corn-ethanol facilities--without using more corn, says a chemical engineer speaking to the National Advanced Biofuels Conference at the Omaha CenturyLink Center.

Dr. Gary C. Young, P.E., President, of Bio-Thermal-Energy, Inc., of Cedar Rapids, Iowa told participants at the Conference that the new proprietary technology uses gasification to convert a stream of CO2 in combination with another carbonaceous feedstock into syngas, which can in turn be further processed with other commercially available technologies to produce electricity, process heat, or to produce methanol, ethanol, green gasoline, and/or higher value products. The B-T-E technology proposes to reduce and recycle the current waste streams of CO2 emissions from ethanol plants and other industries that many scientists say are causing harmful changes to the climate and then use the CO2 as an input feed for economical production of higher value products.

Young says that recent experimental demonstrations at a 12.5 ton per day scale conducted at a private third-party pilot plant facility has demonstrated the process works and shows that it may soon be possible to competitively double the amount of biofuel produced at an existing corn-ethanol facility without using more corn.

“The B-T-E technology could build a bridge between the ethanol industry and the natural gas industry to help reach national goals for energy independence at a time when certain parts of the world remain subject to terrorism and instability,” he said.

“The B-T-E technology may also be an important bridge between ethanol and environmentalists by reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere,” said Young.

Concerns about climate change have been increasing with an apparent rise in the number of recent natural disasters and weather related events such as Hurricane Sandy, droughts and forest fires. In May 2013, scientists for the first time measured an average concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide of 400 parts per million in Mauna Loa, Hawaii, where the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) observatory is located.

Also in May, an Interagency Task Force of the federal government released estimates of social costs from carbon emissions projected for 2010 to 2050. For 2020, estimates of the social costs ranged from $12 to $129 per metric ton of CO2 emissions. Young says a typical 100 mgy ethanol plant generates 37.7 tons of CO2 per hour. If the plant deployed the BTE technology, about $3 million in extra revenue could be generated annually at a $10 per ton compensation rate. Recent media reports that California Air Resources Board (CARB) is proceeding with the implementation of a carbon offset incentive program in that state.

Young says the corn ethanol industry represents “low hanging fruit” for the new B-T-E technology because CO2 emissions into the atmosphere from the fermenters of a typical ethanol plant are 97 percent pure. As a result, it is an excellent feedstock for the CO2 conversion process that uses the waste stream in combination with another carbonaceous input--such as biomass, natural gas, coal, and coke—to produce syngas that would be used as an input for other products.

“If done right, the BTE technology could improve the economics of the Midwest corn-ethanol industry and at the same time turn it into the number one global carbon offset industry within a very short period of years,” said Young.

Young said the proprietary BTE technology is licensed to a joint venture

involving Earth Energy, which has investors including retired General Wesley Clark and John and Jeff Wooley from Austin,Texas, and American Green Gasoline, LLC, which has investors from Western Iowa and Northeast Kansas. Currently a third-party engineering design and economic feasibility study is being conducted to scale up to commercialization.


For more information see:

Dr. Gary Young, P.E., B-T-E, Inc. (319) 373-5191 www.b-t-einc.com/

John Wooley, EE-AGG LLC (512) 658-3404

Dave Stevens, AGG LLC (712) 592-1981 www.aggbiofuel.com

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