Highwater plant completes bio-fuel addition

LAMBERTON – Butamax Advanced Biofuels, LLC, celebrated the completion of the first phase of a Butamax Advanced Biofuels addition at Highwater Ethanol plant Wednesday.

Construction began last October on installation of new corn oil separation technology using a mechanical centrifuge before fermentation to create higher quality oil than existing ethanol plants are able to do, according to Butamax U.S. Commercialization Vice President Brenda Head.

She said Butamax requires the same amount of water to be produced as ethanol and that it does not reduce vehicle fuel consumption as using ethanol fuel does.

Head said the project was completely done with Minnesota companies including Fagen, Inc. of Granite Falls who also built the original Highwater Ethanol plant.

“Installation of the Butamax front-end separation and corn oil removal technology recently completed makes us pleased to be on the cutting edge with this value-adding first step towards Butamax’ butanol technology,” said Highwater Ethanol CEO Brian Kletscher.

British Petroleum (BP) and DuPont created a partnership in 2006 to develop, produce, and market a next generation of biofuels, with the first-planned commercialization being bio-butenol. Under the partnership, there are patents in the areas of biology, fermentation processing, chemistry and end uses for butanol.

Bio-butenol’s chemical properties allow it to be blended at up to 16 percent in gasoline while maintaining compatibility with E10 and offering equivalent emissions performance. Bio-butenol has about twice the energy density of ethanol, according to Butamax, based in Wilmington, De.

In addition, bio-butanol/gasoline blends can be transported in existing pipelines without risk of phase separation, according to Butamax.

Highwater Ethanol LLC began production in 2009 with a 50 million gallons a year denatured alcohol nameplate capacity. The plant produces nearly 141,000 tons of DDGs (Dried Distiller’s Grains used to produce animal feed) using 19 million bushels of corn a year and employs 40.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

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