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Aventine Renewable Energy Upgrades Pekin, Ill., Plant to Natural Gas


Aventine Renewable Energy, a leading producer, marketer and end-to-end
supplier of ethanol, has announced completion of a $13.2 million project
to upgrade its wet mill ethanol plant in Pekin, Illinois, by replacing
70-year-old coal boiler technology with two newly installed Indeck®
high-pressure natural gas boilers. The boiler installation is part of
the more than $30 million investment Aventine is making to restore its
two plants in Pekin.

“The investments we have made in our Pekin plant will give us the
competitive advantage to continue to provide clean, renewable energy for
years to come”

The new boilers at the 160-million-gallon wet mill improve efficiency
while also reducing annual emissions of sulfur dioxide by more than
13,000 tons and emissions of ash by 215 tons. As a cogeneration
facility, the plant makes high-pressure steam that is run through
turbines, generating 8 megawatts of electricity and using low-pressure
steam in the process of corn wet milling. Three old coal boilers,
including two vintage 1944 stoker boilers and a 1955 vintage steam
boiler, will be permanently retired in early September.

“Ag processing plants must be rebuilt every 20 years, so we are
rebuilding the Pekin wet mill to be productive for another 20 years,”
explained Mark Beemer, president and CEO of Aventine, during an Aug. 15
ribbon-cutting ceremony. “In October 2013 we broke Aventine’s historical
maximum production record, and we’ve broken our own records twice since

To date $20 million invested in the plant complex includes $13.2 for the
boilers, retubing a 1975 boiler, $1 million to fix a fermentation
problem, $1.4 million to install a new starch separator and replace six
old separators, installing a new $750,000 centrifuge at the yeast plant,
and installing two backflow preventers for the Pekin city water system.
More than 80 seal pots have been installed to prevent pump failure while
reducing well water use by 70,000 gallons per day.

Aventine is also building a new truck and rail dump, which will allow
the Pekin complex to unload 60,000 bushels of corn per hour or unload
110 BNSF shuttle trains in less than 15 hours. A new CompuWeigh system
is being installed across the 200-acre complex that will enable seamless
electronic metering of all ethanol and specialty liquids plus electronic
weighing of all inbound grain and outbound grain products. The system
will directly interface with Aventine’s accounting systems.

“The investments we have made in our Pekin plant will give us the
competitive advantage to continue to provide clean, renewable energy for
years to come,” said John Valenti, Aventine’s vice president of
operations. “It’s a significant improvement to one of the most robust
and diverse bio-refineries in the industry.”

Aventine has also invested more than $2 million in the Fagen dry mill in
Pekin, including replacing conveyors, economizers, dryers, rebuilding
centrifuges, thermal oxidizer and agitation motors.


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