In its 10 years of operation, Blue Flint Ethanol has produced 650 million gallons of ethanol, and it has done so by using thermal energy available at Great River Energy’s largest power plant.
Located adjacent to Coal Creek Station in central North Dakota, Blue Flint Ethanol is the first co-located, directly integrated ethanol plant in the world. The plant’s location is a key factor in making Blue Flint one of the most cost-effective, energy-efficient, environmentally friendly ethanol plants in the country. The secret is in the steam.
As a by-product of generating electricity, Coal Creek Station produces process steam which Blue Flint Ethanol uses as the thermal energy in its ethanol production process.
“This success has been a team effort driven by our dedicated employees and supported by our business partners and the local and state community. We are grateful for the many opportunities this business has created and shared and we continue to improve our business every day,” said Jeff Zueger, CEO of Midwest AgEnergy Group, the North Dakota biofuels enterprise that owns Blue Flint Ethanol.
Since Blue Flint began producing ethanol and dried distillers grains in February 2007, the plant has evolved into a biorefinery, integrating corn oil production and an E85 blending station.
Every year, 70 million gallons of ethanol is shipped via truck or rail to markets in the United States and Canada, helping reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels. Blue Flint ethanol has been certified as a low-carbon renewable fuel in many areas of North America.
A blend of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol produces a high-octane, clean-burning fuel that can be used in all vehicles. Blue Flint Ethanol also has a blending facility that is used to produce E85, which is up to 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. E85 is used in flexible-fuel vehicles and can be used to create E15 and E30, both high octane fuels.
The transportation industry has driven over 20 billion miles using E10 from Blue Flint Ethanol. Also, using ethanol from Blue Flint Ethanol instead of gasoline has resulted in the displacement of 4.4 million tons of carbon dioxide.
“Blue Flint is a viable part of our economy. They have created a market for our corn farmers, distiller grains for livestock producers and jobs in our community,” said Doug Goehring, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner.
The plant provides jobs for 43 skilled employees. Those workers have compiled approximately 1 million total man hours worked in the past 10 years. The facility and its employees also recently celebrated 10 years of no lost-time accidents, an exemplary safety record for the ethanol biorefinery.