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New Ethanol Plant

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New Ethanol Plant
Posted by Bigjim7 on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 8:01 AM

Finally have a place for my Walters Ethanol plant. Have a lift out bridge to get to it. Will take a few months at least to do. Some early pics. Thanks

 

 

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Posted by Bigjim7 on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 12:13 PM
i forgot to ask anyone else done a Ethanol Plant. Any tips would be great. I bought 2 Walthers piping kits to run pipes here and their. I see the 3 main parts are The Fermenting area' Distillation' and Dehydration area. I assume Covered Hoppers can be used to bring Corn into the plant and Tanker cars which are my favorite cars can be used to export the Ethanol and bring chemicals into the plant' I see where they use Hydrozene to help get the water out of the Ethanol. Any tips much appreciated. Thanks
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Posted by SPSOT fan on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 12:21 PM

I lack tips on building your plant, but I do like what you’ve done so far! I love the idea of expanding across an entrance to reach a single, small industry! You’re really getting full use of you space.

I have a friend who needed staging, so he built a lift out that went though the doorway to a small shelf in the hallway outside the layout room. Just getting the most out of ones space!

Thanks for sharing!

Regards, Isaac

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 1:08 PM

Bigjim7
. Any tips much appreciated. Thanks

Once the ethanol is extracted, the grain co-product that is left is called distillers grain.  It's used in animal food.  I'm not sure how it's hauled away.  It would have to be dried to be haul away in hoppers, if it's for local use, it can be hauled "wet" in trucks, but it doesn't have a long "shelf life" before it starts to mold.

Dried, it's conveyed into 40' shipping containers, and sent overseas.  It's use is for animal food.

The CN has a facility at their intermodal yard in Chippewa Falls, WI. where they load it for export.

Mike.

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Posted by jrbernier on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 1:26 PM

Jim,

  The corn is usually trucked in.  The plants are put in the heart of corn production areas.

  The output of the plant is ethanol shipped in large 33,000 gallon tank cars, and DDG(distillers dried grain) shipped in large 4 bay covered hoppers.  The DDG may also be trucked out to local feed lots.

  Inbound rail shipments may be a tank car of gasoline to dilute the near 200 proof ethanol so they do not need a fed tax stamp for brewing 'shine'.

Jim

 

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Posted by NVSRR on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 1:38 PM

Mine is packed into a small area 2 foot wide.  Two ethanol loading racks.  A storage track and a grain unloading track.  The walthers duel unloading kit is used there.  The site can handle an 8 car ethanol train.  Plus buffers. 10 cars if two covered hoppers are on it.  Mostly the covered hoppers come in on a seperate run 

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Posted by jjdamnit on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 7:03 PM

Hello All,

My first thought is how much room do you have?

Thank you for the photos.

It appears that you have creatively filled a small space.

My 4'x8' freelance pike is a coal branch loop set in the late '70's to mid '80's. It is a walk around, table-top pike with wireless DCC control.

Yes, the main drags in and out of the facility are coal hoppers.

But, like any industry, there are many other necessities that are required to keep the plant in running order.

In the center of my pike there is enough room to include a wye, a historic spiral trestle (helix), several sidings and an elevated loading siding (served by a 3% grade and the spiral trestle), along with various service and maintenance facilities for the mine, modern diesels and the power plant, and the Olde Tyme steam excursion train (converted to burn oil- -ironic at a coal mine).

•Flatcars- -To carry large machinery that is needed to keep the plant operating.
These loads can be anything from uncovered items, covered items, loads of piping and vehicles.
Some of these could be depressed center flats that carry some of the oversized loads; spools of conveyor belt material, transformers, ventilation fans, etc.

•Boxcars- -Use to haul smaller pieces of machinery along with other miscellaneous freight.

•Combine Car or Doodle Bug- -On my pike, because of the remote location of the mine, the workers need a way to get to and from the facility.
There are no roads into the complex so all the staff; from the miners to the power plant operators and all other workers have to commute by train.

•Gondola Cars- -These might make an appearance from time to time to haul scrap or old machinery.

•Schnable- -Even this Goliath could make an occasional visit with it's retort load for the distilllation columns.

•A "Critter" or other small switching locomotive- -I personally love these little giants!
In an industry where cars need to be moved once spotted many industries own these.
Great for switching maneuvers in tight spaces. 

With a few exceptions: logging cars, auto carriers, coil cars, stock cars, coal hoppers, I can't really think of any rolling stock that wouldn't our couldn't be justified for an industry like this.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 7:27 PM

JJ, I must be missing something.  Confused  What does all of the things you mention in your post have to do with the OP' ethanol plant?

Just wondering....

Mike.

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Posted by jjdamnit on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 7:36 PM

Hello All,

mbinsewi
What does all of the things you mention in your post have to do with the OP' ethanol plant?

Bigjim7
...I assume Covered Hoppers can be used to bring Corn into the plant and Tanker cars which are my favorite cars can be used to export the Ethanol and bring chemicals into the plant' I see where they use Hydrozene to help get the water out of the Ethanol. Any tips much appreciated. Thanks

I believed that the OP was asking about different types of rolling stock, not the actual construction of the facility.

All of the types of rolling stock I listed could be involved with the maintenance and production of any industry.

Ethanol production included.

I noted my pike as an example of the possibilities.

Hope this helps.

 

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by Bigjim7 on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 7:08 AM
Thanks all I was asking about the plant itself' piping' buildings' holding tanks ect and also the type of rolling stock that would be used' Thanks JJ for your time on all the type of cars that could be used. I used to work as a sub contract painter at a Dow Chemical plant was called Rohm Hass then. Their was always welders every where changing things' lots of cranes and pipes. As one suggested most Ethanol Plants or in the corn belt and trucks would be used to brings the corn in. I live in southern IN. and corn is every where. No Ethanol plants here' most of the corn goes to the big Feed Mill close by and to all the chicken house's for the Tyson Plant here' also we have 2 large Pop Corn plants ' Cousin Wille's and Ramsey Popcorn. My area is 32in deep by 46 in. I will post some updates pic soon ' Thanks
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Posted by Mmbushnell on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 1:06 PM

A while back, I ran across a video depicting a professionally-produced HO scale ethanol plant, being exhibited at a farm show, by the ethanol trade association Growth Energy together with farm machinery manufacturer New Holland.  G/E VP Kelly Manning had the model produced; he reports that it took about 500 hours, including field research visits to several ethanol plants to ensure authenticity.  

Unfortunately, the video doesn't spend quite enough time viewing the model, but you can clearly see the extensive detailing.  I've tried to find other presentations of this model on the internet, but without success.  The model's present location is unclear.  In the video, Kelly Manning indicates an intent to produce additional versions of the model, for display at farm shows, museums, and similar venues.  Whether that's happened or not is unclear. 

In any event, the video is well-worth watching, several times.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IEjnp15ne0#action=share 

//  Michael 

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Posted by Bigjim7 on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 1:18 PM
Thanks Michael that is one fine Model' Gave me some ideas. Now I will never have that much detail ' I only have so much space. But I did see where the pipes go into the Evaporators' I had no clue on that. I googled Ethanol and saw many pic but most were over head shots hard to tell much. Thanks so much for that. I will watch it many times.
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Posted by Bigjim7 on Saturday, May 25, 2019 8:44 AM
Up date pic. Been placing pipes here and their and other items. Do I know what is the proper way to pipe a Ethanol plant. No just more for looks. I am the opposite of a Rivet Counter so that should tell you something. But the kids think it looks great. Thanks and Happy Memorial weekend.
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Posted by BroadwayLion on Saturday, May 25, 2019 9:38 AM

Here is the Red Trail Energy plant in Richardton, ND.

If you google "Richardton, ND" you will get a view of our 'house' right there on the first page.

The BNSF mane lion runs just to the north of the plant, and a little north of that is "Old Higyway 10"

The long white strips that you see is extra corn that didn't fit into the three elevator towers.

Cor arrives by rail and by road. Sometimes we can see twenty or more trucks waiting to go in. They must be weighed (so you need a scale), and there is an automatic snout that will reach deep into the load and extract samples for assay.

As built the plant was to be fired by local lignite coal brought in by truck from a near-by mine. Engineer did not do his sums right, and the lignite coal did not burn properly, so they switched to bituminus coal brought in by rail. You can still see the coal pile half way down the track. It was too much work and labor to use coal this way, and with the price of local gas, they changed to gas firing. We have not seen coal cars in years.

You can see the various fermentation tanks to the west of the processing building. These tanks are partially inside of the building. The valves and pumps and whatever are inside of the building, workers need not go out doors in the dead of winter.

 

Gasoline is brought into the facility in smalle tank cars than what they ship the ethanol in. The gasoline is used to cut the ethanol from 100% to 85%. At 100% the product would come under the liquer authority and would have to be sold in liter bottles with a tax stamp on it.Corn squeezins' you know.

The big square buiilding holds the driers. The biggest things ever to cross North Dakota roads and that includes all of the oil field business. The driers were put in place and then the building was built around them.

Product that is dried only in the first drier is sold as wet brewers yeast. That is sold locall to farmers. They need special trucks with conveyer beltsd to help unload the trucks. the stuff will not fall out by gravity.

Prouducct that is dried in the second drier as well is sold as dry brewer's yeast, and that seems to be shipped by rail to wherever it is going.

Ethanol is of course the main product shipped, and that loop to the east can hold several hundred cars. It is a two track loop, tank cars on the outer loop and usually grain cars on the inner loop. The track in the middle of the loop is some sort of a car cleaning facility. The tank cars are in 'captive' service and are only used for ethanol, there is no return product, for that would require cleaning the cars at least twice if not more. A large number of cars are owned by a pool of ethanol producers, and so have their name on the cars. They can be sent to any ethanol plant for their next journey. Red Trail has enough track space that they can hold cars until they are needed elsewhere.

They are adding to the end of that loop track, apparently it will loop back on itselfwhich will ad another three to four hundred cars in the loop.

Cars are dropped by an east bound train pushing them back into the plant from the east switch.

Out bound cars are pulled out from the west, but need to be built up into their train and inspected before the road crew comes to fetch them. A car-knocker comes in from Dickinson (25 mi west) to perform the inspections prior to the arrival of the road crew. The road crew still must charge the train and do the brake tests before they can head on out across highway 8. But at least they do not do switching acrossa highway 8, that would be a problem for traffic.

 

The Ethanol plant owns two locomotives.(Boy! I wish I could go out there and pl;ay with them!

 

ROAR

 

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Posted by dknelson on Saturday, May 25, 2019 9:48 AM

I toured an ethanol plant in Nebraska (unfortunately photos inside the plant were forbidden but we could take all we wanted outside) and the thing that struck me at the time was how all the piping (and there is a lot of piping, just a maze of pipes) was color coded in bright primary colors. 

There was a long string of trucks waiting to dump their corn -- each lot had to be tested before they were allowed to dump so there was a special receiving area.  I do not know if they were testing for moisture content or purity or both.  The truck was weighed twice - full then empty.

The dry distiller's grain was shipped out in covered hoppers and perhaps also trucks.  The wet distiller's grain was for purely local use and shipped out in trucks. I have to think mostly it was dried.

There are many steps in the process.  The corn is ground down in a very early stage. Ethanol plants are considerable users of water.  An early stage looked almost like orange paint it was so opaque - not like a thin juice in other words.  I think that might have been before initial fermentation.  But you would not see this level of detail from the outside.  I do think there are two stages of fermentation.  The "alcohol" odor at the last stage and strong and somewhat pleasant - and that is why they add gasoline to "denature" it.

 Jeff Wilson goes into much detail in his book about Grain.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, May 25, 2019 10:15 AM

Lion, and Dave, that is a whole lotta' great info!  You could build a switching lay out centered around a big ethanol plant, and have a very busy lay out.

Excellent info.  It still amazes me how they have to cut it or else it's corn squeezin's Laugh

So, when you see a unit train of ethanol,  is it already mixed with the gas? 

I can never get a good look at the placarding.  I'll have to do a little searching.

Mike.

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Saturday, May 25, 2019 11:27 AM

mbinsewi
So, when you see a unit train of ethanol, is it already mixed with the gas?

 

YES!  They couold never affor the booze taxs on all of that stuff.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, May 25, 2019 12:20 PM

I kind of figured, as what placarding I did catch a glimpse of appeared to be the same as used for gas.

Just think if it wasn't cut, you might see a return of the days of train robbery! Laugh

I just did another fly-over of your town, Lion, coutesy of Google Satallite.

That must be the frac sand facility just a little SW. between Hyw 8 and the I-94.

I really like those majestic towers on each side of your front door. 

Mike.

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Saturday, May 25, 2019 12:21 PM

Lion has suddenly recaptured my interest in modeling an ethonal plant (especially with his reference to the BNSF "mane lion" in his picture). I have a whole bunch of currently useless GATX tanktrain cars. Wonder if those would work prototypically, either as single units or a connected set of cars? 

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, May 25, 2019 12:25 PM

Bigjim7

Do I know what is the proper way to pipe a Ethanol plant. No just more for looks. I am the opposite of a Rivet Counter so that should tell you something.

 
My sentiments exactly!
 
My layout features a multi-use generic plant called Western Grain and Sugar that handles both wet- and dry products. Depending on what kind of tank cars get dispatched to the plant, the wet product could be ethanol, or just as easily be high fructose corn syrup, or soybean oil, or even beer. Doesn't really matter. And depending on what kind of hoppers or gondolas arrive, the raw material and/or dry product could be beets, beans, or barley. Or corn.
 
Looking good Jim.
 
Robert

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, May 25, 2019 12:28 PM

I forgot to add the quote, replying to BNSF's post.

Maybe.  The ladders and running boards wouldn't be right, but the length of the car I think would work.  They would be something to start with, as a kit bash project.

I've never seen a unit ethanol trains with the "TankTrain" type connection or configuration.

Mike.

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Posted by Bigjim7 on Sunday, May 26, 2019 6:44 AM
Thanks all again. Lots of great info. Still adding more pipes. Will post pic later this week.
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Posted by BroadwayLion on Sunday, May 26, 2019 7:13 AM

Here is a closeup of the plant itself

You can see how the fermenting tanks are cut into the building.

Almost alll of the operation is under cover, after all, this is North Dakota

 

ROAR

 

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Posted by Boiler-man on Sunday, May 26, 2019 8:25 AM

Another by-product of the ethanol process is CO2 which is compressed to liquid form and hauled in liquid state in tank cars like natural gas.

Boilerman
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Posted by Bigjim7 on Monday, May 27, 2019 6:43 AM
Good pic. I wonder what the smoke stack does' I do not have a smoke stack 'and on some plants you do not see them' maybe that's the evaporation area. Thanks
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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, May 27, 2019 7:51 AM

Bigjim7
. I wonder what the smoke stack does'

 When you explore how an ethanol plant works, you'll see the corn is "cooked", so I imagine that "smoke stack" is part of the cooking process, although it's probably steam, and not smoke.

Mike.

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Posted by jjdamnit on Monday, May 27, 2019 3:59 PM

Hello All,

dknelson
...(and there is a lot of piping, just a maze of pipes) was color coded in bright primary colors.

Growing up in Long Beach, California, there are a lot of petroleum refineries in nearby Wilmington.

Because of the expansiveness of these facilities there were often overhead piping spanning roads.

Some were color coded and some were just labeled with directional arrows, to indicate the flow of the piping, and hazmat numbered placards to indicate the contents.

All of the piping was above ground for maintenance and fire fighting.

It would not be uncommon to have piping running over the tracks in what resembles a signal bridge.

In some areas the roads were actually sunken to allow the passage of larger capacity pipes to travel, unobstructed, over these thoroughfares. 

Depending on the level of detail you are seeking this might be an option to ad visual interest over tracks and any roads in the complex.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Monday, May 27, 2019 5:26 PM

mbinsewi

 

 
Bigjim7
. I wonder what the smoke stack does'

 

 When you explore how an ethanol plant works, you'll see the corn is "cooked", so I imagine that "smoke stack" is part of the cooking process, although it's probably steam, and not smoke.

Mike.

 

 

 

The smoke stack comes from the power house. Remember this plant used to burn coal to heat the mash. Now with gas, which in many applications would only require a vent, they still use the same booiler.

 

ROAR

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 9:08 AM

mbinsewi
I've never seen a unit ethanol trains with the "TankTrain" type connection or configuration.

 

They were long since all retired befor the advent of commercial ethanol plants.

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 6:53 PM

BroadwayLion

 

 
mbinsewi
I've never seen a unit ethanol trains with the "TankTrain" type connection or configuration.

 

 

They were long since all retired befor the advent of commercial ethanol plants.

 

Rats. Guess I will have to add modern tank cars to my roster needs (wants?) as well...

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