The commercial-scale modular refineries provide a complete set of modules to process feedstock, distill ethanol, and provide environmentally friendly operation through water cleansing systems after distillation. Our systems utilize off-the-shelf components for easy access to parts for maintenance. Modular systems are flexible. They can be "turned up" with additional capacity and "turned down" when full capacity is not needed. The modular system can grow with your business and give you the opportunity to start out with smaller capacities and decreasing the amount of initial capital needed.

The modular refinery differs from a large-scale ethanol plant in that the large-scale plants are custom-designed in all aspects. Each component is sized and designed to the particular requirements of the type and volume of feedstock to be processed. This results in expensive up-front costs requiring large capital commitments at the beginning of the project. A lot of capital is risked before the first gallon of ethanol is produced. This approach can work as long as parameters don’t change over the life of the plant. If circumstances change, redesign and reconstruction will typically be required. This makes accommodating change an expensive proposition. Adding capacity could require replacing a large existing system with a new one. Reducing capacity could cause the existing system to operate inefficiently or not at all. To ensure a plant of this type operates reliably, expensive components are required to minimize downtime and repair. Regular maintenance can take the plant offline, and breakdowns can cause extended downtime.

Allard Energy refineries take an approach that can address the above concerns. The proposed system is designed to be modular and scalable. Individual system modules are smaller in capacity, but can be added together to provide the production required.

A modular approach to ethanol production provides several benefits:

  • Off-The-Shelf Components
  • Flexibility
  • Redundancy and Reliability
  • Scalability
  • Maintainability
  • Economy
  • Upgradability

Off-The-Shelf Components – Because each module is of a standard design, the design process is completed one time. A new design does not have to be paid for each time the system changes. Using smaller capacity individual modules allows for the use of high-reliability but inexpensive off-the-shelf components as opposed to the very large components and expensive components of a custom-designed large-scale plant.

Flexibility – The modular system can be reconfigured very quickly to accommodate changing requirements. This covers changes that are very short-term, such as a temporary reduction in available feedstock to more long-term changes in plant requirements. For temporary reductions, individual modules can be shutdown without affecting the rest of the system’s efficiency. For long-term changes, modules can be added and removed.

Redundancy and Reliability – Each module has the components it needs to perform its process. Using several smaller capacity modules to reach a large capacity results in redundant components for each process. If a component should fail it will only affect the module containing it. The rest of the system will continue to operate.

Scalability – The modular approach is designed to accommodate change. As system needs grow, modules can be added to ramp up capacity. Control systems are designed to recognize additional modules as they are added so that modules can be added dynamically. The overall system stays in operation.

Maintainability – The modular system is highly maintainable. Modules can be removed and added while the rest of the system stays in operation. Scheduled maintenance can be performed on individual modules without affecting others of its type. In large systems, spare modules can be available to immediately replace a module under going maintenance virtually eliminating system downtime. In addition, this same feature allows for rapid recovery from breakdowns as the affected module can be replaced with a spare.

Economy – Eliminating the costly design/construction process from the plant will significantly reduce overall costs. Modules can be shipped with minimal to no on-site assembly requirements. Modules are pre-designed, manufactured and tested prior to shipping. Smaller individual module capacities mean far less expensive components. A plant can grow dynamically to accommodate changing needs without expensive redesign and reconstruction.

Upgradability – In addition to adding to existing process capacity, new technologies and processes can be brought on-line in an incremental manner using the modular approach. This can reduce the risk and initial cost associated with adding new processes and technologies.

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