THE HISTORY OF OUR ETHANOL PLANT

The ethanol plant was first constructed by George Westphal Engineering, from Germany, in Elgin, Iowa in 1984, as a 1.65 MGPY facility, producing alcohol from corn. Westphal discovered an improved distillation process for alcohol. Westphal constructed four alcohol plants to prove this process. However, demand for alcohol’s inclusion in gasoline fell off in the late 1980s due to questions raised by the oil industry surrounding its inclusion. The plant was subsequently purchased by new owners who began looking for lower cost feedstock. They discovered “cheese whey” as a potentially candidate. Cheese whey contained “lactose”, a simple sugar, which could be converted to alcohol.

In 1988 the plant was moved to its present location, in Hopkinton, Iowa, where Swiss Valley Cheese had a major cheese production operation. The objective was to receive waste cheese whey from Swiss Valley wherein the lactose could be extracted and converted to alcohol. This cheese-waste venture may have worked, but Swiss Valley moved their cheese plant from Hopkinton.

The owners then began converting waste sugars and candies, such as spent marshmallows and sugar syrups, into ethanol. In 2001, they sold the plant to Xethanol. Xethanol built a second ethanol plant in Blairstown, Iowa using corn as a feedstock. In 2005, Xethanol began to upgrade the Hopkinton plant to 5 MGPY. With the upward spike in corn prices in 2007, and bank failures in 2008, Xethanol sold the plant to the current group of investors.

The investors entered into a federal research program to determine conversion rates on various waste feedstock, including converting paper into ethanol. Paper contained 16% starch, and some of the paper was free. Several agricultural production plants surrounding the plant were generating large amounts of agricultural waste.


ETHANOL PLANT CURRENT OPERATIONS

Permeate’s ethanol plant and crew have worked tirelessly since 1989 to discover more cost effective ways to convert various waste feedstock into fuel and fuel byprodcuts

One striking attribute of converting waste into fuel and fuel byproducts is that is saves on water:

FUEL PRODUCTION STORAGE:

On-site tanks can hold approximately 200,000 gallons of alcohol and wet co-product stillage for resale as animal feed.

LIQUID CELLULOSE AND WASTE STORAGE:

On-site tanks can store up to 400,000 gallons (4 million pounds) of wet liquid, convertible biomass;

5 MGPY DUAL PRODUCTION CAPABILITIES OF CELLULOSE AND WASTE SUGARS:

A fully enclosed 5 MGPY ethanol plant, housed in approximately 50,000 square feet of building space, comprising two city blocks. The fuel and fuel byproducts plant consists twenty-four fermentation tanks, and other state of the art equipment needed to handle and convert waste into fuel and fuel byproducts

TRACTORS, TRAILERS & MACHINERY:

Permeate owns its own tankers tractor and trailers for hauling waste to the plant, auxiliary processing equipment, forklifts, augers, and loaders for handling and processing the waste.

75,000 Sq. Ft. of Storage:

Permeate Refining owns a fully enclosed 75,000 square foot storage and food grade processing facility. We can store up to twenty million pounds of sugar or feedstock waste at any one time. This building is separately piped to store and move up to 4 million pounds of liquid syrups. Syrup storage tanks are heated with converted steam. This building houses corporate offices and is being modified to produce food grade alcohol.

SEPARATE WHEY & CELLULOSIC WASTE PROCESSING:

Half of the fermentation tanks are piped separately, to handle cellulose when it is being processed. Cellulose (and cheese whey) require separate processing pathways and this feedstock has its own cooking, storage and feed separation systems. Cheese whey must be cooked and fermented separately from other waste, because of its processing characteristics;

WATER USE

Permeate Refining utilizes a well system to decrease dependency on city water.

Waste Feedstock Water Percent

SUGAR BEETS
BEET TAILINGS
STARCH SLURRY
WHEAT SLURRY
CHEESE WHEY
SODA
BEER - WINE - ALCOHOL
FOOD WASTE
SYRUP WASTE

CURRENT WASTE PROCESSED

STARCH WASTE:

Starch waste consists of damaged starch and syrup created during food and industrial based production processes. Various starch wastes come “burnt” to the plant with the sugar content sometimes also damaged. The only benefit such “burnt” products can yield is as animal feed produced after any available fuel is extracted. Other starch waste comes mixed with various chemicals which can only be effectively isolated and extracted during a fuel conversion process (soda pop waste, apple juice waste, etc.). Starch waste and syrup is pervasive in nearly all food waste groups.

SUGAR & WASTE

When research was conducted, we received the following:
· Dry and Liquid Food Waste: Food waste comes in all varieties – some bulk and dry and some packaged in small containers. Specially processing and handling techniques needed to be developed to profitably and properly convert this waste into fuel and fuel byproducts; while certain conversions were not so profitable, some were very profitable.
· Diseased Waste (salmonella, for example): Bacteria likes food waste and bacteria can exponentially explode in food waste. We discovered ways to convert this waste into fuel and fuel byproducts

MOLASSES (CELLULOSE PRESENT):

The plant receives two types of molasses, (1) “blackstrap” molasses received directly from sugar cane production plants and (2) feed grade molasses. Blackstrap contains more simple sugars. Feed grade molasses has more complex sugars and is more difficult to convert into ethanol.

WHEAT & RICE WASTE (CELLULOSE PRESENT)

Wheat and rice waste comes in the form of waste starch, various wheat and rice plant production slurries, waste flours, dextrin, maltodextrin, and many other production wastes.


PAPER AND OTHER CELLULOSE BASED BIOMASS

Paper and other Cellulose Based Biomass: Permeate Refining was among the first plants in the nation to actively convert paper into fuel and fuel byproducts. We discovered ways to process many different types of paper cellulose into fuel and fuel byproducts;

Ethanol Plant Operations

OPERATIONS

Permeate Refining operates twenty-four hours every day, seven days per week, with periodic shut-downs throughout the year for standard maintenance. The facility typically requires fifteen full time employees for plant operations and staffing.

RAILROAD INFRASTRUCTURE FOR PERMEATE REFINING

Permeate Refining operates a rail spur in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at their biogas production facility. Nearly ninety (90%) percent of the feedstock for conversion into ethanol comes through the rail system. A rail car will transport between 168,000 and 200,000 pounds of feedstock, equal to four typical long haul truck loads. All of the agricultural waste that is received by Permeate Refining from rail is first shipped to Cedar Rapids, Iowa and off-loaded there. The feedstock is then shipped via truck to Permeate Refining. The ethanol that is produced is hauled from Permeate Refining in semi-trucks.

FUEL TERMINALS FOR PERMEATE REFINING

Fuel blending terminals and facilities are located within trucking distance of Permeate Refining’s sites, both in Waterloo, Dubuque, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE FOR PERMEATE REFINING

The plant site is located along Iowa Highway 38, ten miles south from U.S. Highway 20. Highway 20 connects directly with both Waterloo, Iowa to the West, and Dubuque, Iowa to the East.

UTILITIES FOR PERMEATE REFINING

The energy specifications for the plant include a capacity of three boilers processing up to 15 million Btus of natural gas per hour, at a combined capacity of 60,000 pounds per hour. Hopkinton, Iowa has its own utility company, and can service the electrical needs of the plant.

STORAGE

For the size of the plant, Permeate Refining has ample storage for both alcohol, dry feedstock, liquid feedstock, and stillage for animal feed processing and production (see earlier quantifications as mentioned).