Bioenergy

Eight Corn-Ethanol Plants to be Identical, Modular and Green

Western Milling, one of California’s largest grain milling companies, and Khosla Ventures, a venture assistance and capital firm, have formed Cilion, a company to operate modular, standardized 55 million gallons per year (mgy) ethanol plants. Cilion plans to have eight plant units in production by 2008 for a total of 440 million gallons per year (mgy) capacity, the first three of which are expected to be located in California.

“Our technology and years of experience will allow our plants to have an energy balance advantage that is 2X that of gasoline. In addition we expect a greater than 90% reduction in petroleum use,” said Kevin Kruse, Western Milling president. “The bottom line is that Cilion will be able to produce environmentally friendlier ethanol in California at a lower cost than ethanol produced in the traditional Midwest corn ethanol plants and delivered to California.” To provide Cilion with plants that will be less expensive and greener than standard corn-to-ethanol plants, Western Milling’s expertise with ethanol production, grain handling, logistics and feed will combine with the company building and financial expertise of Khosla Ventures, substantially reducing the plants’ needs for fossil fuels in ethanol production by using “a variety of innovations,” according to the release. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently issued Executive Order S-06-06 establishing targets for the use and production of biomass products. The executive order called for California to produce a minimum of 20% of its own biofuels by 2010 and 40% by 2020. Of the 900 million gallons of ethanol currently consumed in California, only 5% is produced in California. “Cilion will be able to single-handedly produce all of the ethanol that the Governor has ordered for 2010, based on current consumption,” said Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures. “Governor Schwarzenegger wants twenty percent of all ethanol consumed in California to be homegrown, and we are confident that Cilion can achieve that goal in its first three California plants, comprising four 55 million gallons per year units, that will be operational by early 2008.”