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BGW to install Europe's first large-scale Whitefox ICE membrane system

Whitefox Technologies Ltd, a UK-headed developer, and manufacturer of membrane separation technologies has recently announced that Polish ethanol producer BGW Sp.z.o.o. is investing in the expansion and modernization of its ethanol plant in Rąbczyn, Poland by installing the first large-scale Whitefox ICE membrane solution in Europe to improve energy and water efficiency.

Whitefox’s Integrated Cartridge Efficiency (ICE) uses membrane-based cartridge dehydration technology that enables clients to produce ethanol in an energy- and water-efficient way. With a small footprint, Whitefox’s scalable systems can be adapted to a variety of processes and organic solvent applications such as ethanol, butanol, or methanol, and can be integrated into existing production plants as well as new builds (photo courtesy Whitefox Technologies).

Established in 1990, BGW initially based its activities on trading liquid fuels and engine oils. Currently, the main direction of the company’s activities is the production of ethanol at its facility in Rąbczyn and it has firmly established itself as a leader in the market for the production of animal feed from ethanol co-products from corn-based dried distillers grains, and solubles (DDGS) and corn oil.

According to a statement, the project involves installing a Whitefox system designed to produce up to 400 000 litres per day of anhydrous ethanol. The project is in construction and is due to start up towards the end of 2021.

BGW is continuously looking to expand the high-quality production of bioethanol, for industrial and biofuels uses to meet the growing demand for our products. At the same time, we target ongoing operational efficiencies to meet CO2 targets and reduce costs. Since we first purchased the distillery in Rąbczyn in 2002 we have undertaken several modernization initiatives to create a state-of-the-art plant. Whitefox’s membrane solution will help us take a further leap towards our overall goal to produce the most energy-efficient ethanol in Poland, said Bartosz Walkowiak, President, and CEO of BGW.

First-of-its-kind in Europe

A specialist in technology development and process integration based on its proprietary membrane solutions, Whitefox’s Integrated Cartridge Efficiency solution (Whitefox ICE) is a membrane-based technology solution that dehydrates water-rich recycle streams to produce high-purity ethanol.

The design help reduce operation and maintenance (O&M) costs by simplifying production, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by reducing energy consumption, and improving the water balance in ethanol and organic chemical manufacturing processes

The Whitefox ICE technology is already operating in eight US ethanol facilities, eliminating recycle streams from molecular sieves to improve energy consumption, carbon emissions, and operational costs.

The membrane solution developed for BGW, the first of its kind in Europe, takes the technology one step further by being the sole dehydration technology in the stream, rather than sitting alongside molecular sieves and thereby providing a step-change improvement in overall plant efficiency.

We started to work on this solution with Bartosz and his team over a year ago and together we developed an advanced solution to help BGW set a new standard in ethanol production. It will also be the first Whitefox ICE solution to directly dehydrate ethanol from 50 percent to 99.9 percent in the main production stream. At Whitefox we are focused on using our membrane separation technology to help the industry address the challenges of meeting Europe’s NetZero targets, commented Gillian Harrison, CEO of Whitefox Technologies.

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