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Frequently Asked Questions

How is ethanol made?

Ethanol (or ethyl alcohol) is very easy to make, and is something humans have been producing since the beginning of recorded history. Ethanol is also generally referred to as 'grain alcohol' and is the same alcohol that we consume in beer, wine, and liquors. The distillation of ethanol in America has a long history, with various slang names such as 'Moonshine', 'White Lightning', and others.

Here is the general process:
First, a water/sugar solution is fermented (via yeast) into beer that averages anywhere from 10 to 20% alcohol by volume. It takes 14 pounds of sugar to make 1 gallon of ethanol. Although the industry term for this fermented solution is 'beer', this is generally not the kind of beer you would want to drink. The type of yeast used in the process is also important because yeast begin to die as the percentage of alcohol rises. In order to obtain higher alcohol percentage contents during fermentation, the yeast need to be specially tolerant to high-alcohol environments.

Second, the 'beer' is boiled and the steam is directed into a distillation column (or commonly called a 'still', an abbreviation of distillation). Alcohol has a lower boiling point than water. Alcohol starts to boil at 173 degrees F, where water boils at 212 degrees F. The combination of water and alcohol forms a special compound called an Azeotrope, which in our context means that no matter how many times the alcohol/water solution is boiled and distilled, the maximum percentage of alcohol ever attainable through distillation will be 95.6% (or 191.2 Proof) by volume. In other words, using distillation only, there will always be at least 4.4% water in distilled alcohol. Third, if desired, the distilled alcohol can have the remaining water removed (creating what is known as anhydrous ethanol), through one of several other types of processes. One of the simplest processes for removing the rest of the water from the alcohol is by the use of a 'molecular sieve.' A molecular sieve works by acting like a sponge, but in a selective way. The porous openings of the material are large enough to allow water molecules to enter, but are too small for the ethanol molecules. Since the molecular sieve material is hygroscopic, the net effect is that water is absorbed, but not the ethanol. After the water has been absorbed by the material, the anhydrous ethanol is drained off.

What About Feedstocks ?

Free waste products are no question the cheapest, which mitigates the cost down to just the cost of gathering and processing. Biodiesel producers have been collecting and processing waste vegetable oil for years and converting it into biodiesel. The same type of opportunity exists for creating ethanol. Here are a couple of ideas on how to get your ethanol feedstock for free:

Grains. First, the grains need to be ground into a meal, then added to water and brought up to near boiling. The 'mash' then requires an enzyme to convert the starches to sugars, a second enzyme then breaks the long chains of sugars down to simple sugars, and finally yeast is added to ferment the mash into beer. We would recommend that if grains are used, that users have external tanks for the initial stages of processing, and then pump the filtered beer into our system's tanks for distillation. There is a substantial amount of leftover particles (commonly known as distillers grains) after processing something like corn into beer. If you do, however, choose to use grains as an input, those leftover distillers grains make excellent feed for everything from fish to cattle. And as part of a larger system, this approach would be ideal.

Other feedstock. There are many, many different crops which provide much better sources of ethanol. Anything that contains starch or sugar can be readily converted into ethanol. Ranging from algae, to sugar beets, to cattails, and many others, these crops offer the best output per acre. We recommending searching the web for more information on this topic, as ethanol feedstocks are quite an extensive area to cover in a single website FAQ.

Should you have any question of information about our products or forward looking do not hesitate to call or email us on our Contact Details

What is Biorefinery ?

The biorefinery is similar in concept to the petroleum refinery, except that the process technologies transform renewable, biomass materials rather than crude oil.

Positive Keys introduces biorefinery plant that can transform crops such as Corn, cassava, Sugar cane, Oil palms and low-value biobased feedstocks into multiple, higher-value biobased oil and Diesel

By applying new technology to extract the full economic value from our biobased resources, biorefining in Positve Keys will:

  • Reduce waste streams
  • Create new jobs and businesses
  • Boost rural economies
  • Create valuable products from local, renewable biomass resources
  • Reduce our dependence on fossil fuels
  • Lower our greenhouse gas emissions
  • Generate wealth for our state

This website is a tool to help industry, agriculture, technology developers, and business supporters in Positive Keys Ltd pursue

Biorefining process equipment derives from the chemical, pharmaceutical, food processing, and forest products industries.

Although many of the basic process technologies for biorefining can trace roots back one hundred years or more, scientific advances within the past five to twenty years have dramatically improved the commercial viability of many biorefining processes.

Process profiles

To get Below the list of prominent biorefining process technologies. Contact Us

  • Aerobic digestion/composting
  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Aqueous-phase reforming
  • Biomass gasification
  • Black liquor gasification
  • Combustion
  • Dry mill corn processing
  • Esterification/transesterification
  • Fast pyrolysis
  • Fermentation of 6-carbon sugars and starches
  • Fermentation of lignocellulosic biomass
  • Fiber composites manufacturing
  • Lipid extraction
  • Thermochemical liquefaction
  • Vitrification
  • Wet mill corn processing

To get prominent informations on Biobased products below. Contact Us

  • 1,3-Propanediol (PDO)
  • 3-Hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP)
  • Acetic (ethanoic) acid
  • Anaerobic digestion effluent
  • Biobased fuel gas & syngas
  • Bio-derived liquefaction oil
  • Biodiesel
  • Biogas
  • Brewers yeast
  • Butanol
  • Char
  • Corn gluten feed
  • Corn oil
  • Corn syrup
  • Crop fibers
  • Distillers' dried grains with solubles
  • Durable building materials
  • Ethanol