July 17, 2017
By Holly Galbus
CLAREMONT, Minn. — The expansion and modernization project at Al-Corn Clean Fuel here is expected to be finished a few months earlier than planned.
The project, which began in December, was originally expected to be completed in July 2018. Randall Doyal, CEO of Al-Corn, said it is looks like the project will be finished by the end of April or early May.
"We're a little ahead of schedule, which is great," Doyle said. "There's a lot of progress being made."
Al-Corn, founded in 1994, is a farmer-owned ethanol production cooperative just south of U.S. 14 in southeastern Minnesota. It grinds 17.5 million bushels of corn and produces 50 million gallons of ethanol annually. When the expansion and modernization is completed, production will expand to 120 million gallons of ethanol.
Crews have been at work all across the grounds, doing underground and concrete work. In May, construction of two 112-foot silos was completed. The silos will store distillers dried grains with solubles, a final product in the ethanol production process.
Two new ethanol storage tanks also are being constructed. Al-Corn's current ethanol storage capacity is 1 million gallons. The new tanks, expected to be finished in a month, will each store 2 million gallons.
Nearing completion are four 75-feet tall fermenters; each have a capacity of 1 million gallons. The fermenters stand next to the three older ones, which each have a 500,000 gallon capacity.
Nearby, work on distillation and vaporization vessels is expected to be completed by the end of July.
The concrete bases for two corn bins, each 105 feet in diameter, are in place. Eventually they will store 1.5 million bushels of corn.
Also in the early stage of construction is the CHP, or Combined Heat Power. The unit will generate 40 percent of Al-Corn's electric power. Doyal said the CHP is being built in Texas, and he plans to travel there in August to observe testing on the unit before it is shipped to Claremont. The CHP is expected to be completed by October.
West of the original facility grounds, crews are working on grading the area to expand rail capacity. Once that is done, gravel and ballast will be spread in preparation for the three loops of rail. The facility has a 10-car spur. Upon expansion, the facility will handle 100 cars at a time.
"This will allow us to get to markets we haven't reached yet," Doyal said.
When completed, the Al-Corn Clean Fuel facility will cover 200 acres.
Until then, it's business as usual for the plant. Doyal said the plant has continued to operate at full capacity throughout construction. Farmers with trucks full of corn continue to stream into the entrance, and line up in preparation for weighing and processing.
Read the original article: Al-Corn Expansion a Bit Ahead of Schedule