Dual, Efficient Fuel Sources

Poet Plant Displaces Natural Gas with Waste Wood, Landfill Methane Gas

Taken from the Biofuels Journal

By spring 2009, a POET ethanol plant in Chancellor, SD will use a combination of methane gas from a municipal landfill and waste wood chips to partially power the plant.

The POET Biorefining-Chancellor plant expects to replace more than 70% of its natural gas usage by 2010, with use of the two power systems, according to General Manager Rick Serie.

Wood Waste Power

To generate power from waste wood chips, the plant, as part of an expansion from 45 to 100 million gallons per year (MMGY), is installing a solid waste fuel boiler.

This alternative energy system, said Serie, is expected to generate enough steam for more than half of the expanded plant’s power needs.

POET contracted with Mueller Pallets of Sioux Falls, SD for a supply of wood chips from used pallets and other construction waste to fuel the boiler.

“The pallet company will shred the wood prior to delivery to the plant,” said Serie. The boiler will be outfitted with state-of-the-art pollution control equipment that extends state and federal standards and will be continuously monitored. “It will also cut down on the volume going into the landfill while producing a green fuel from a green fuel.” Serie said.

Methane Power

Besides wood waste, another waste-produced fuel will power the Chancellor plant – methane gas from a nearby municipal landfill. “We recently signed a supply agreement with the City of Sioux Falls to lay down a 10 mile pipe-line from the landfill to our plant,” Serie said. POET will pay for the supply of gas, but will be paying less than the current price of $10 to $11 per million BTUs (dekatherm) for natural gas. He said POET originally entered into negotiations with Sioux Falls two years ago, when natural gas was selling for $7 per million BTUs.

Short Payback

The cost to install both systems will be about $25 million, Serie said. Although he declined to reveal the payback period for these alternative power sources, he said it was a “very short payback period at $7 per dekatherm.” Together, the two technologies will displace 70% of the plant’s natural gas usage in the first full year of operation. As Methane production from the landfill increases, it has the potential to completely eliminate the use of natural gas at the plant, Serie said.