New Plant Doubles Its Ethanol Production

At Merrick & Company’s new ethanol recovery plant, which opened at Coors Brewing Company in Golden, Colorado, Merrick is to purchase the alcohol condensate waste stream from the brewery, upgrade it to fuel-grade ethanol, and sell it to Diamond Shamrock under a long-term contract for the Front Range Clean Air program. Merrick owns the facility and Coors is under contract to operate the plant.

“This doubles the plant’s capacity,” said Steve Wagner, Merrick & Company, Energy Process Systems vice president. “We can now produce three million gallons per year of fuel-grade ethanol.” The Merrick-Coors partnership began when then Total Petroleum asked Merrick to construct an ethanol plant at Total’s Denver refinery in 1995. According to Wagner, the cost of transporting the waste to the site made it unfeasible. Instead, Merrick leased land from Coors and built the continuous production process plant at the brewery’s Golden plant. “They brew most of their beer here in one location, producing approximately 20 million barrels per year. There is a viable market for ethanol as fuel and it reduces the disposal cost, so it’s a resource recovery and waste recycling benefit,” said Wagner. The waste reduction benefits of the facility eliminate more than 70 tons of volatile organic compound emissions annually, according to project engineers. Also, as a result of their efforts, Coors and Merrick have been able to return nearly 20 million gallons of water to Clear Creek every year.
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