Cellerate®: Bolt-On Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

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Project Details

EPC and general contracting services for the world’s first operational corn kernel fiber cellulosic ethanol plant added as a bolt-on to the existing plant

Location: Galva, IA
Project Duration: 13 months


Below are some of the services we provided for this project:

  • EPC from Site Work to Commissioning
  • Aspen Process Modeling
  • Equipment Sizing & Specification
  • P&IDs
  • Structural Steel Design

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Cellerate® Process Technology

The Cellerate® Process Technology allows existing ethanol plants to produce more ethanol from the same kernel of corn. The additional ethanol is cellulosic ethanol – an advanced biofuel that qualifies for D3 RINs under the Renewable Fuel Standard. The process also improves the distiller’s grain coproduct by increasing the protein content of the livestock feed and boosting corn oil extraction. Nelson Baker provided the engineering and construction services that made Cellerate® a reality.

  • QCCP proudly claims 90% of the total US cellulosic ethanol production over the past three years, producing 1.3 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2017 alone.
  • The Renewable Fuel Association recognized QCCP with the RFA 2015 Industry Award for their success with the Cellerate® technology.

Project Challenges & Nelson Baker’s Solutions

Being a new technology, there was some uncertainty in the process requirements such as energy consumption and equipment specifications. The equipment could have been designed with excess capacity to accommodate the uncertainty, but that would have cost QCCP more money. Instead, Nelson Baker used AspenTech modeling software to simulate the process and determine what the process requirements really were.  This improved the efficiency of the process and decreased the cost of the project.

Cellerate® is a bolt-on technology, so it must accommodate the existing plant’s infrastructure. QCCP’s site presented some unique physical constraints. The operations and construction experience of the Nelson Baker team plus our health and safety expertise meant we were able to provide a safe, economical, and functional design given the plant’s constraints.