The first closed-loop ethanol plant, which will distill commercial quantities of ethanol without the use of fossil fuels, is set to open in Nebraska in December 2006, E3 BioFuels CEO Dennis Langley. The plant will use methane gas captured from cow manure in place of fossil fuels to distill ethanol.
The plant, named "Genesis" by E3 BioFuels with the hope that it will spur a revolution in energy production, will combine a 25-million gallon ethanol refinery with a beef cattle feedlot and anaerobic digesters. While the cattle manure will produce methane gas to be used in the distillation process, byproducts from ethanol production can in turn be fed directly to the cows without drying or transportation costs.
"The Genesis plant at Mead will be the first to market ethanol produced from closed-loop, self-sustaining ethanol technology by at least a year or two, in comparison to any other competitors," says Langley. "This plant will make ethanol more than twice as energy-efficient as any other method of producing ethanol or gasoline."
E3 BioFuels plans to build 15 more closed-loop plants within the next five years, Langley says.