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Green Plains and BioProcess Algae Plant

  • Green Plains and BioProcess Algae plant

    Green Plains, one of the largest U.S. ethanol producers, has teamed up with BioProcess Algae, to grow algae for various products, mainly food for animals.

  • Green Plains and BioProcess Algae plant

    This ethanol plant in Shenandoah, Iowa, is the only one that is tied to an algae plant. The algae plant is capturing the wastewater and Co2 to help produce the algae. When a corn seed enters the ethanol plant, one-third is used to produce the ethanol, one-third is used for DDGs, and the other third is lost through Co2.

  • Green Plains and BioProcess Algae plant

    Green Plains CEO Todd Becker explains the connection between ethanol and algae: “What if the wasted one-third of a corn seed could produce something that becomes more valuable than the other two-thirds? And what if farmers were able to realize another revolution of corn production much like the boost that the ethanol industry has provided?”

  • Green Plains and BioProcess Algae plant

    Co2 gas from the ethanol-making process is pumped into this greenhouse-like algae reactor. Algae use and thrive on that gas, and release oxygen in return.

  • Green Plains and BioProcess Algae plant

    The research began when algae was produced in a container the size of a soda can. Now, the algae plant has commercial-size reactors (the greenhouses) that are 400 feet long.

  • Green Plains and BioProcess Algae plant

    Once Co2, wastewater, and sugar leftovers are pumped into the reactors, the algae "feeding" process begins. When seeded with algae, each reactor produces a bigger crop of algae in the hanging screens.

  • Green Plains and BioProcess Algae plant

    Once the algae has grown onto the reactor screens, it is sprayed off in the form of 99% liquid and 1% solids. This machine includes spray nozzles that track through each aisle, removing the algae.

  • Green Plains and BioProcess Algae plant

    A further dewatering process and a centrifuge take the algae to 80% solid. Though Bioprocess Algae is operating at scale in Shenandoah, further research will determine whether the plant expands.

  • Green Plains and BioProcess Algae plant

    After clearing dewatering and the centrifuge process, the algae paste is run through a dryer to become a flake substance product. Currently, the algae is bottled and sent to end-users that experiment with the product. Eventually, the algae will be trucked out of the plant, after increased production.

  • Green Plains and BioProcess Algae plant

    The main markets being targeted are food, pharmaceutical, and nutraceutical markets, Becker says. Some algae are very high in omega-3 fatty acids, valued for their health benefits. Learn more about BioProcess Algae.

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