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Aventine Renewable Energy Inc. has installed a $2.4-million Valicor corn-oil separation system (COSS) at its Nebraska Energy LLC plant in Aurora, Nebraska. The system began operations in early January. Since corn oil has a higher market value, removing the oil improves dried distillers grain processing properties.
High production levels and excess inventories nationally have led to tight margins, particularly in Nebraska. Until supply and demand are more in line, we are working to maximize profitability by better aligning our costs with our product mix and output levels. Steps we’re taking include initiating a 20% cost-cutting program and a 20% systemwide reduction in total corn grind.—Mark Beemer, Aventine president and CEO
The grind reduction affects the two plants in Aurora, Nebraska, including a 30% reduction at the NELLC facility and a 50% reduction at the Aurora West facility. No change is in effect at Aventine’s two ethanol plants in Pekin, Illinois.
We expect the grind reduction to be temporary, largely caused by winter storms lowering demand, and it will not affect our employment. A robust ethanol export market continues for US ethanol and with consumers purchasing $2 gasoline, domestic demand is expected to be very strong from April through October.
MEPs on the European Parliament’s Environment Committee have voted to limit at 6% the use of land-based biofuels that can count toward the 10% renewable energy target in transport by 2020. MEPs also approved the accounting of indirect emissions (ILUC) arising from the production of biofuels under the Fuel Quality Directive, with a review clause to put them in all pieces of legislation after 2020.
The French company McPhy Energy, specializing in hydrogen-based solutions for industrial and energy storage, and the Italian De Nora group, a provider of electrochemical products and services, announced a technology partnership agreement. Under this agreement, De Nora will supply McPhy Energy with activated electrodes for its range of new-generation alkaline water-electrolyzers.
More compact and responsive, with long lifespan, this new equipment will deliver significantly improved technical and economic performance capabilities, the companies said.
De Nora’s proprietary noble metal-coated electrodes are used in a variety of industries and applications such as chlorine, chlorate and hypochlorite production, alkaline water electrolysis, PEM fuel cells and water treatment, surface finishing, electronics, cathodic protection, electrogalvanizing, metal winning and metal recovery.
McPhy Energy was founded in France in 2008. The company manufactures equipment that optimizes electricity resources based on a range of hydrides for solid-state hydrogen storage in association with technology for hydrogen production by water electrolysis.
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will stage the global debut of the Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV II at the 85th Geneva International Motor Show. The Concept XR-PHEV II is a small crossover powered by a new plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV) system. Mitsubishi said it expects the Concept XR-PHEV II to become MMC’s second production PHEV following the Outlander PHEV launched in January 2013. (Earlier post.) (The Outlander PHEV was Europe’s top-selling plug-in vehicle in 2014, with 19,980 units sold.)
The new PHEV system presented in the Concept XR-PHEV II is a lightweight, compact and high-efficiency front-engine/front-drive system suited for an urban crossover. The system is estimated to achieve very low CO2 emissions of below 40 g/km, while also delivering performance and response with its 120 kW electric motor.
The new PHEV system is designed for use in front-engine/front-drive models and comprises a MIVEC engine; a new electric motor/generator; a new power drive unit all mounted up front; and a 12 kWh battery pack. The new power drive unit comprises a compact and high-efficiency inverter and variable voltage system to achieve high power and high torque.
The PHEV system is designed to operate primarily in all-electric mode with the engine acting as a generator or supplying additional motive power when needed. Depending on driving conditions and remaining battery charge, the system automatically switches between all-electric, series hybrid and parallel hybrid modes.
By selecting Battery Save or Battery Charge mode, the driver can drive in all-electric mode when desired.
MMC said it is currently developing PHEV systems best suited to each model in its lineup with a view to introducing them in the near future.