Algea Producing Ethanol Plant

Vilsack touts benefits of algae-producing plant


Published: Sunday, April 17, 2011 12:14 AM CDT


SHENANDOAH – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack delivered the keynote speech Friday at the grand opening of Phase II of BioProcess Algae’s Grower Harvester bioreactors at the ethanol planted owned by Omaha-based Green Plains Renewable Energy on Shenandoah’s east side.He delivered a speech that focused on the government’s efforts to expand investment in renewable energy resources, as well as USDA’s efforts to stimulate growth, create jobs, and to set in place a framework for a “robust future for the rural economy.” That framework, he added, includes support for “next-generation renewable energy,” like that produced by the Shenandoah bioreactors.

“USDA is helping our nation develop the next generation of biofuels to grow jobs and generate energy from new, homegrown resources,” Vilsack said. “In the past two years, USDA has worked to help our nation develop a biofuels economy and make that vision a reality.”

The BioProcess Algae facility is using waste heat, water, and carbon dioxide from production at the adjacent Green Plains Renewable Energy ethanol plant. Researchers have been looking at ways to use the algae produced at the plant for animal foodstocks, as well as human cosmetics, and possibly as a source for biofuels.

BioProcess Algae is a joint venture of CLARCOR, a global provider of filtration products; BioProcessH2O, a wastewater purification technology company; Green Plains Renewable Energy; and NTR, which builds and runs green-energy and resource-sustaining businesses.

The networking of businesses was one of four key components for future agricultural success Vilsack said he saw in Shenandoah. All four were present in the BioProcess algae plant; the others are investment in infrastructure, innovation of new products, and having a sense of place and pride in the products being produced.

Green Plains Renewable Energy president and CEO Todd Becker told the audience of nearly 300 people who attended the grand opening that the production of algae had made the carbon-neutral ethanol plant have a “negative carbon footprint.” The Shenandoah bioreactor facility is the only one of its kind known to exist in the world.

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