Precise dosing saves bioethanol fermenting agents

Video: Precision saves us money

Grundfos SMART DDA pumps paid for their investment after just a half year for dosing at a Lithuanian bioethanol plant

VIDEO: Grundfos SMART DDA pumps paid for their investment after just a half year for dosing at a Lithuanian bioethanol plant

AB Biofuture is one of the largest bioethanol producers in the Baltic countries. Its production capacity changes from day to day, depending on supply and demand. The base crop in its process tanks also varies daily, from rye to wheat or other biomass. These factors influence the system load – and thus the system pressure. The company’s old dosing pumps were performing poorly under these conditions.

Bioethanol production requires small, precise amounts of fermenting agents to act as catalysts, opening up the biomass fibres in order to extract their sugars. The fermentation of these sugars makes bioethanol. In addition, small and precise amounts of additives increase the final output of ethanol.

AB Biofuture’s dosing pumps could not handle the complex system changes, and thus they dosed too much of the fermenting agent, according to Andrius Petruškevièius, Technical Director of AB Biofuture.

“It is important that the pumps are precise, because these chemicals are expensive. The previous pumps were worn down and imprecise,” he says. “We were not very happy with their need for repair and resetting time, and we were looking for more precise pumps.”

PHOTO: AB Biofuture produces more than 40,000 tonnes of bioethanol a year.

The old pumps were failing in other areas, too. AB Biofuture needed a new kind of pump to handle several challenges:

    - Frequent pressure changes in the mill and pipelines
    - Chemical dosing to pressurised and pressure-less pipes
    - Large variation in production load, affecting chemical demand
    - Dosing quantities from 0.1 litres per hour (l/h) to 25.0 l/h
    - Ability to handle degassed chemicals without gas build-up in the pump heads
    - Advanced pump controls needed.

Grundfos Lithuania won the private tender for 12 dosing solutions that meet these requirements with the Grundfos SMART Digital Dosing Advanced (DDA) pumps.

Payback rate of 6-7 months
AB Biofuture noticed the difference immediately – on its bottom line.

“Less ferment is more money saved for us,” says Andrius Petruškevièius. “In our calculations, we save about 10% of the dosed quantity when we are in peak production. In real time, we believe we are saving around 7% from the earlier dosed quantity. We estimate a payback time of 6-7 months after installing this new system.”

His team was also impressed with the DDA’s precision, according to Sales Engineer Andrius Petrusevicius at Grundfos Pumps Baltic Ltd. The AutoFlowAdapt feature allows users to optimise pump performance as it reacts to pressure changes in the system.

Biofuture also benefits from scaling down the analogue input signal to reach the optimal control on the pumps at low flows. In this case, the application requires a flow from 0.1 l/h up to 1.5 l/h. Scaling down the input signal from a nominal flow of 7.5 l/h to 2 l/h in 4-20 mA scale increased the precision.

“This application needs very precise accuracy at very, very low quantities in a system where the pressure changes frequently,” says Andrius Petrusevicius. “This SMART DDA met the customer’s requirements one-to-one.”

Fact box: Grundfos supply
PHOTO: A Grundfos SMART Digital Dosing Advanced DDA pump is one of several at the Lithuanian bioethanol plant dosing fermenting agents.

Grundfos supply to AB Biofuture’s bioethanol plant

For Biofuture’s bioethanol facility in Lithuania, Grundfos supplied the following digital dosing pumps:

12 Grundfos SMART Digital Dosing Advanced (DDA) pumps, including DDA 7.5-16 FCM and DDA 30-4 FCM.

About AB Biofuture
PHOTO: AB Biofuture

AB Biofuture is a leading supplier of high quality bioethanol in Lithuania and Western Europe. Located in Silute, Lithuania, the facility produces up to 40,000 tonnes of bioethanol a year using advanced zeolite ceramic membrane technology.

The company uses the Grundfos DDA digital dosing pumps for the fermenting agent in producing bioethanol. Switching to the DDAs paid for itself within about a half year in saved ferment costs, according to the company.


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