Biomass Electricity Generation at Ethanol Plants - Achieving Maximum Impact (RD3-23)

The current project builds on a previous project, also funded by the Xcel Energy Renewable Development Fund, which evaluated alternatives for using biomass fuels to generate electricity and process heat at ethanol plants.

There are significant opportunities to generate renewable “dependable” biomass-based electric power at corn ethanol plants. The electricity is renewable because locally collected/produced biomass is used for production. The electricity is dependable because plants operate 24 hours per day, 7 days a week for 330 to 350 days per year.

This project will focus on improving performance of biomass generated electricity at ethanol plants and removing barriers for commercialization.

  • Improving performance includes incorporating biomass integrated gasification combined cycle (BIGCC) technology to generate electricity at ethanol plants. It also involves integrating super-heated steam drying technology in the ethanol process to save energy and reduce water use.
  • Removing barriers for commercialization includes development of a business model to use biomass co-products from the ethanol plant as well as other biomass (e.g. corn stover) to provide electricity to the plant and grid, and process heat to the plant. It also involves evaluating technical and economic feasibility of biomass procurement systems for corn stover.

Providing outreach and education for investors, policy makers, utilities and the public is an important component of the project.

Final Report

All publications, papers, and presentation links below will open a PDF in a new tab or window: