Rafferty experimented with wood almost exclusively for the first five years before working with other biomasses, including distillers grains that had to be in the dry form to import. “In a full-sized plant, they’ll use the wet distillers,” Lauer said.”We do not know if there will be a long-term relationship between the plant and KAAPA Ethanol,” she added, acknowledging the several other area ethanol plants that could provide distillers grains.Lauer described the Kearney Xylemer plant as an initial production facility that will process about 8 million pounds of fine powder annually that will be sold —Alera 65500 Resin Rectangular Folding Table with Radius Edge, Platinum there already is a letter of intent to buy in hand — to resin compounders. They custom mix powdered components and turn them into pellets for plastic industry buyers.
Lauer said the company’s goal is to build a full-size 40-million-pounds-a-year plant in a state such as Ohio that is closer to the end users, but still has ethanol production sufficient to provide the distillers grains required.A full-sized plant may have technologies to reuse the steam to create a fully closed-loop system.Once such a plant is commissioned, the Kearney facility would continue to test the high-pressure steam process on other biomass products such as corn and soybean stover, sugar beat pulp, and maybe nut shells, Lauer said.When asked about any potential impacts to the critical central Nebraska balance between corn, distillers grains and cattle, she said maintaining that balance is another reason Xylemer officials may look farther east for sites to build full-size plants.
“We have the cattle here and a market for distillers … so it’s important that we don’t compete with the cattle producers,” Lauer said.Some KAAPA members already have invested in Laurel BioComposite LLC and it was through that 4-year-old relationship that the opportunity blossomed to bring the Xylemer BioProducts plant to Kearney.Lauer said the Laurel plant uses a different chemical-only process to turn biomass into a product for the plastics industry and its investors decided to “follow a proprietary path” with that technology, rather than do something with LignoTech Developments Limited.KAAPA officials stayed in touch with the New Zealand company. “We wanted them to do more product development before we did more with them and that’s exactly what they have done the past two years,” Lauer said.