FEW: Frontline teams with Fagen

By Ron Kotrba | June 02, 2008
Web exclusive posted June 18, 2008 at 6:44 p.m. CST

Jerod Smeenk, engineering manager for the gasification systems provider Frontline Bioenergy, announced a new partnership formed just last week with Fagen Inc., the ethanol industry's premier construction company.

With "Kicking Gas with Biomass" as one of its slogans, the new partnership is hoping to help new and old ethanol plants significantly reduce natural gas consumption for process heat and steam, while laying the foundation for future ethanol production from biomass.

The gasification company Frontline made its name in the ethanol industry in late 2005 when it signed up with Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co., a 47 MMgy plant in Benson, Minn., and part owner of Frontline, to help alleviate the Minnesota producer from its $13 million-a-year natural gas bill. CVEC, a co-op, was and is a perfect candidate for biomass gasification because it could more easily secure a local biomass feedstock from its producer members who have a stake in the success of the plant. The notion in moving toward a biomass gasification system was to retain that $13 million spent on energy in the local community.

Preliminary firing of CVEC's system occurred in March and Smeenk said the fluidized bed gasifier is presently being commissioned, currently using wood residues from the well-forested lands of central Minnesota instead of corn stover. He added that emissions monitoring and systems adjustments are ongoing.

CVEC will reduce its natural gas consumption by 90 percent with the new 280-ton-per-day biomass gasifier.