May 9, 2023

Aemetis reports progress with ethanol, RNG and SAF projects

Aemetis Inc. released first quarter financial results on May 4, reporting progress with energy efficiency projects at its ethanol plant in Keyes, California. The company also discussed development of its dairy renewable natural gas (RNG) projects and proposed renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) facility.

Todd Waltz, chief financial officer of Aemetis, said the Keyes ethanol plant has been idle since late 2022 due to a 500 percent increase in natural gas pricing that would have resulted in a significant loss for the ethanol business. The company has taken advantage of the temporary shutdown to implement a significant maintenance turnaround and mechanical reconfiguration related to the company’s energy efficiency projects, Waltz said. Improvements include the installation of a new control system with artificial intelligence capabilities, and several other process upgrades, according to Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis.

According to McAfee, Aemetis is currently working through plans that will allow the company to restart the Keyes plant in the second quarter. Andy Foster, president of Aemetis Advanced Fuels and Aemetis Biogas, said upgrades made at the Keyes plant will allow the facility to operate using high-efficiency electric motors and pumps powered by low or zero-carbon renewable power sources, including the solar microgrid installed by the company and other local sources of renewable electricity. When the efficiency projects are complete in 2024, the company expects natural gas usage at the Keyes plant will be reduced by more than 80 percent.

“With the installation of a solar microgrid, mechanical vapor recompression, operation of the all-electric Mitsubishi Zebrex dehydration unit, and the replacement or upgrading of various heat exchangers and process equipment, Aemetis will lead the ethanol industry in energy efficiency and low carbon production,” Foster said.

Erin Voegele, Biomass Magazine

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