We like GRE plan to add biorefineryCorn ethanol plants are fairly well known in the state and in the nation, but cellulosic ethanol plants are unheard of anywhere in the country. And yet, a cellulosic ethanol plant is exactly what Great River Energy is working to achieve for the Spiritwood Energy Park.
Corn ethanol plants are fairly well known in the state and in the nation, but cellulosic ethanol plants are unheard of anywhere in the country. And yet, a cellulosic ethanol plant is exactly what Great River Energy is working to achieve for the Spiritwood Energy Park.
Using corn — considered a food staple worldwide — to make ethanol outraged and frightened many. Using biomass to make cellulosic ethanol, on the other hand, means using agricultural waste — inedible plant material such as switchgrass — and someday it could mean using garbage as a feedstock.
GRE’s willingness to look to the future is putting Jamestown on the map nationally. The biorefinery will not only add jobs and another source of income for farmers, it will become a model for other biorefineries.
The future of cellulosic ethanol in this country starts with the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy biorefinery and the region’s ag waste. The technology to make cellulosic ethanol comes from a Danish company, Inbicon. If all the preliminary work and feasibility studies go as planned the country’s first-ever commercial biorefinery will be built in the Spiritwood Energy Park. It’s already generating national interest in the renewable energy arena.
This is occurring because GRE needed another steam host besides Cargill Malt. Its heat and power plant, Spiritwood Station, is another first-of-its-kind, producing electricity and steam as its two products when it goes into operation this fall. Selling its steam not only makes the plant more efficient, it makes the biorefinery possible. A biodiesel refinery is also being considered for that area because of the availability of GRE’s processed steam.
It won’t be long before the technology is refined enough to make ethanol using what is called municipal solid waste — household garbage we now house in sanitary landfills.
(Editorials are the opinion of Jamestown Sun management and the newspaper’s editorial board)