Producing Renewable Fuels From Renewable Energy

In the fall of 2008, XL Dairy Group, Inc. will begin operations at its Vicksburg, Arizona, facility as a self-contained biorefinery designed to produce high-grade ethanol, biodiesel, milk and dairy products, and animal feed — along with 100% of the energy required to run the plant.

The $260 million Vicksburg BioRefinery will use proprietary technology to generate ethanol with an energy efficiency ratio of 10:1. The ratio means that for every British Thermal Unit (Btu) unit of fossil fuel energy needed to produce ethanol and biodiesel, XL Dairy Group will produce 10 Btu units, nearly ten times the efficiency of a traditional dry-grind ethanol plant. To achieve that efficiency, and generate cost savings of $0.30 to $0.35 per gallon in ethanol production and $0.50 cents per hundred weight of milk, the company will convert waste streams from the 7,500 dairy cows as well as from the fractionation, biodiesel and ethanol processes into energy to power the entire project with recycled, renewable energy. Fractionation separates corn, the primary element in producing ethanol and biodiesel fuels, into three parts: germ, corn starch and corn bran. “Environmentally, the project has significant advantages because of low emission of greenhouse gases through the conversion of waste streams to energy and a high energy efficiency ratio,” said XL Dairy Group Chairman and CEO Dennis Corderman. “Simply put: as the only biodiesel refinery in the nation with this level of energy efficiency, we will not be energy dependent on fossil fuels and volatile energy markets.” Located 100 miles west of Phoenix in La Paz County, construction on the first phase of the Vicksburg BioRefinery dairy farm is complete. The Phase II Dairy will be constructed during 2007, and final engineering is now underway on the biofuels facility which includes the fractionation mill. The project, said Corderman, will process over 576,000 tons of corn into 54 million gallons of ethanol, five million gallons of biodiesel and 110,000 tons of animal feeds annually. Carbon dioxide produced during the process will be captured and stored on site for sale in various applications including beverage carbonation, cooling and the production of dry ice. Carbon dioxide, one of the major contributors to greenhouse gases and global warming, also can be “scrubbed” on site and converted into oxygen to be released into the atmosphere. XL Dairy Group also is waiting for patent approval on a proprietary, low-cost algae production system, which will then be incorporated into the XL BioRefinery to lower operating costs and expand the production of motor fuels and animal feeds. “Because algae has a higher oil content than corn, and needs much less acreage to produce much higher volumes, which we will do at the site, we expect to expand to 100 million gallons of ethanol and 25-30 million gallons of biodiesel over the next five years,” added Corderman.

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