More and more Americans are advocating for renewable alternatives to fossil fuels, and the oil and gas industry in response to legislation has adopted ethanol-based fuel to answer this demand. Because ethanol can be extracted from corn and similar plant products, communities across the U.S. (and particularly corn-growing regions in the Midwest) directly benefit from installing a fuel ethanol plant in their community. The dried distillers grain provides an important animal feed byproduct that is rich in protein.

Well-operating ethanol plants benefit their communities in many ways. They provide employment opportunities for both their own workers and those in support industries, and the influx in outside investment improves local infrastructure and increases cash circulation within the region. Additionally, nearby farmers profit from feeding the steady demand of ethanol plants, and the fuel is sold to oil and gas producers across the country.

Thermal Kinetics offers a comprehensive range of high-quality engineered process equipment and consultations to help you install a fuel ethanol plant in your community. Our full-service process system options cover every aspect of fuel ethanol plant assembly and installation, from evaluation, design, and plant development to engineering, fabrication, supervision, and follow-up maintenance of plant equipment.

Below, we’ve outlined some of the main features of fuel ethanol plants, as well as a few points that investors and community members must consider before embarking on building their own ethanol plant. The process below (courtesy of Al-Corn Clean Fuels) illustrates the typical overall plant:

Fuel Ethanol Plant – Interactive Model

Thermal Kinetics provides (along with cooperating engineering service providers) full plant evaluation and advisement. Thermal Kinetics also supplies equipment and support for distillation, dehydration, and evaporation (DD&E) along with related auxiliary systems to improve plant efficiency and productivity.

The best way to understand how a fuel ethanol plant’s DD&E operation works is to see it in action. We based the interactive model below on an advanced biofuel production plant that we designed in the Midwest. Key elements include:

  • Three-part evaporation system that progressively concentrates the stillage, which contains water and dissolved solids
  • Beer column, reboilers, and CO2 flash vessel: the beer column separates ethanol and water, reboilers generate vapor at the bottom of the beer column, and the flash vessel removes unwanted CO2 that the feed dissolved
  • Rectifying column, reboiler, and fusel oil decanter, which work together to separate fusel oils contained in the ethanol stream
  • Molecular sieve system that uses adsorption to perform the final separation of ethanol from water

Interactive Fuel Ethanol Plant

At Thermal Kinetics, we’re committed to providing the best overall engineering support and solutions for the Fuel Ethanol Industry. A great deal of work goes into the conception, design, sourcing, and construction of a fuel ethanol plant and Thermal Kinetics is here to help.

Below is an interactive model of a Fuel Ethanol plant that our Process Engineers have designed for a project in the Midwest.

Hover over the different sections to learn more about each part of a standard Fuel Ethanol Plant.