Etanolix

In Finland, St1 have production plants running since 2007 producing bio-ethanol. The raw material consists e.g. of industrial waste streams such as bread and sweets. Today four Etanolix plants are in operation, and produce a so-called second generation ethanol for blending into gasoline and E85 (in Finland called RE85). Climate impact compared with fossil products, is very small, ie reduction of fossil CO2 is high (> 90%).

St1's biofuel production in Sweden

Etanolix 2.0 is the short name for the LIFE+ project. Here, St1's Etanolix concept takes a further step by scaling up the existing process, further development of e.g. raw material handling as well as the unique way of integrating the ethanol plant in a conventional refinery. The product, bio-ethanol, can thus be blended direct to the finished product, vehicle fuels, by using the refinery distribution system and in an effective way distributed to the consumers.

From a resource point of view, e.g. utilize excess energy from the refinery to use in the ethanol plant as well as cooling water systems and the process wastewater treatment plant. Refinery personnel's expertise and experience will be very useful in order to focus on the safety and optimal operation.

St1 has for many years actively explored the possibility of establishing a biofuels production in Sweden and have in the own refinery found an excellent location.

The produced ethanol compared to other bio-components and fuels are very valuable from an environmental and ethical point of view. One way of comparison is in CO2-emissions. Figure 1 below shows carbon dioxide emissions per kg oil equivalent for Etanolix-ethanol compared with various transportation fuels.

Figure 1. Etanolix-produced ethanol compared to different fuels based on the CO2-emission/kg oil-equivalents. (Referenses: 1) WSP Report 2006, 2) BioScience 55/7 2005, 3) BioScience 55/7 2005, 4) Concawe, Shell, WTW 2004, 5) BioScience 55/7 2005, 6) Concawe/Eucar WTW 2004)

Etanolix produces a so-called second-generation ethanol intended for blending into fuels as gasoline and E85. The Climate impact compared with fossil products, is in the Etanolix-process very small with a high CO2reduction (>90 %).

Description of the Etanolix-concept

The raw-material, which consists of waste products from the food industry, is used as feed-stock in the Etanolix-process. These products are available today and can be used as a resource. An inventory of the raw-materials has been made in the immediate area and region that shows that there is enough material to provide for the ethanol production.

Disposal of valuable streams, such as this, is completely in line with the life cycle philosophy (and the waste hierarchy) to minimize the generation of waste, recycle and reuse.

When a waste product, in this case from the food industry, is intended to be used as a raw-material in the production of ethanol and all other sustainable requirements are met, as defined in the legislation, the result is that the ethanol produced in the Etanolix-plant can be classified as a second generation biofuel.

In the Etanolix-process the ethanol produced will have a purity of approximately 85 % including a by-product called stillage. This stillage is then planned to be processed further for animal feed or for the production of biogas. The same raw-material used in the ethanol production could be used as an animal feed as it is, but here the raw-material is used one more time before it's transported to be used as animal feed.  The importance here is that the stillage provides better nutrition for the animals, due to the lower content of sugar and a more consistent quality, than if the raw material was directly used as animal feed. Approximately 52 ktonnes stillage will be produced from the Etanolix-plant during a normal year.

The concentration of ethanol is after distillation, 85 percent and after dehydration the alcohol concentration is near 100 %. Thereafter the quality of ethanol is tested the produced volume is pumped via pipeline to the refinery storage tanks to be finalized according to fuel specifications. The production capacity of the plant is 5 000 m3 per year.

 

Brief description to figure 2

  1. Raw-material from the food industry is collected and transported to the refinery.
  2. The ethanol plant produces both an 85 % ethanol and a by-product called stillage. The stillage can be used as animal feed or the production of biogas.
  3. The 85 % ethanol is then dehydrated to approx.100 % ethanol
  4. The ethanol product is after a quality check pumped to the refinery storage tanks and then blended to finished product according to specification.
  5. Delivery of the gasoline from the refinery to terminals and retail sites.

 

Figure 2. Schematic view of the Etanolix concept.