Ethanol and Advanced Biofuel Production
Pacific Ethanol controls and operates four ethanol biorefineries in the western United States with a combined operating capacity of 200 million gallons per year and markets the production of two other plants in California. Our four plants are strategically located near our fuel and feed customers, giving our plants logistical and transportation cost advantages over Midwest producers.
We are continually improving the state-of-the-art refining technology of our facilities, developing new ways to improve efficiencies, lower the carbon content of our fuel, and adapt new feedstocks to the production of transportation fuel.
Corn Alternatives and Advanced Biofuels
Feed corn is the primary feedstock for US Ethanol producers. Advantages of location and plant design enable Pacific Ethanol to use a variety of other feedstocks in addition to corn.
Sorghum offers some important advantages as a feedstock alternative to corn. It requires less water to grow than corn, it can be grown on more marginal lands and it uses less fertilizer than corn, which results in a lower carbon footprint. When processed using biogas and cogeneration, the EPA has designated sorghum-based ethanol as an "Advanced Biofuel." Pacific Ethanol is well positioned to take advantage of opportunities to source sorghum both domestically and internationally. Sorghum helps lower our raw material costs while reducing greenhouse gasses.
Raw Beet Sugar
Pacific Ethanol's biorefineries can also process raw beet sugar, which we blend with corn thereby reducing the amount of corn used in production. We purchase surplus beet sugar offered through the U.S Department of Agriculture's Feed Flexibility Program at a lower price than feed corn, which saves in material costs and gives us added flexibility.
We regularly process waste wine from local wineries for conversion to ethanol, which saves on feedstock costs and has a lower carbon footprint than processing with corn.