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Renewable energy company has upgraded its systems and resumed production at its Keyes ethanol plant.
Aemetis, a renewable natural gas and renewable fuels company engaged in the production of negative carbon intensity goods, has confirmed the recommencement of production at its Keyes ethanol plant in California. The facility, which has an annual capacity of 65 million gallons, has recently undergone significant maintenance and system upgrades — the most comprehensive since it commenced operations 12 years ago.
Eric McAfee, Chairman and CEO of Aemetis, Inc., explained that their Keyes facility had a record of consistent output with minimal maintenance downtime. However, a spike in natural gas prices a few months ago led to the strategic decision to halt operations to carry out substantial facility improvements and incorporate important technological advancements. "Significant investments made at the plant include a new Allen Bradley Decision Control System (DCS) with over 1,100 sensor connections installed across the facility. This upgrade will enhance operational automation and facilitate Artificial Intelligence (AI) management of energy consumption," said McAfee. He noted that these and other planned mechanical improvements would directly lower the carbon intensity of the biofuels produced at the Keyes plant and contribute to air quality improvement in the Central Valley.
Andy Foster, President of Aemetis Biogas, LLC, stated that these system enhancements would also bolster the functioning of the Aemetis Biogas network, which includes a 40-mile biogas pipeline, seven operating digesters, and the central RNG production facility. “These upgrades will smoothly integrate the operation of the 30 additional dairy biogas digesters in Stanislaus and Merced Counties that are currently under construction or in development. They will be connected to our pipeline for the processing of biogas into RNG, which will be injected into the utility gas pipeline for use as transportation fuel," Foster said.
The Aemetis Keyes biofuels plant received a total of $16.7 million in grants from the California Energy Commission and Pacific Gas & Electric. These funds have supported the enhancements to the facility's energy efficiency, solar energy, electric ethanol dehydration, and the upgrade to the DCS system.