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Aggregating Energy Since 2006

Ethanol and Coal

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Given the short-sighted and counterproductive idea of using coal to produce ethanol (rather than natural gas), I was at first horrified to read about a new ethanol plant in North Dakota which uses coal.

Then I realized it was using waste heat from the coal plant.

The ethanol plant is co-located with the 1,100 MW Coal Creek Station and will use excess heat from the adjacent power plant to process an estimated 18 million bushels of corn into 50 million gallons of fuel ethanol annually. Blue Flint may be unique in the ethanol industry in its co-location with the power plant.

While this strikes me as a good idea from Headwaters and Great River Energy, I see that they are also cooperating on a coal-to-liquids plant. Coal to liquids is awesome for the anti-oil-import crowd but a rather poor idea after factoring in the externalities of coal extraction and climate change.