Our bioethanol distillery can produce up to 24 million litres of bioethanol a year depending on the volume of molasses processed. The bioethanol can be used in pharmaceutical and industrial products as well as a source of biofuel in transportation and power production. The distillery’s by-products of raw gas and concentrated molasses stillage are then further transformed to produce food grade carbon dioxide and liquid fertilisers respectively.
The production capactity of Omnicane's bio-ethanol distillery is of 80,000 litres a day.
Molasses, the process residue of the repeated crystallisation of sugar, are received from the milling unit and from other suppliers. Upon reception, they are cooled and weighed before being transferred to storage liner tanks.
Molasses from the liner storage tanks is pumped to the fermentation section where the latter is diluted with water to produce mash.
The fermentation section, which is a batch process, consists of 2 steps:
- Yeast propagation where mash is mixed with dry yeast in presence of sterile air. The yeast growth is monitored and when required population obtained, the latter is transferred to the fermentation tanks.
- During fermentation, mash is further added to the yeast mixture. The yeast converts the sugars in the mash to alcohol.
Carbon dioxide produced during fermentation is washed through a scrubber to remove any entrained alcohol which is then sent for food grade CO2 processing.
The final product is called beer which contains about 8-9% alcohol and is sent to the distillery.
The distillery comprises of a series of columns with specific functions namely:
- Stripper and concentrator column where alcohol is removed from the beer and industrial alcohol at about 93% is obtained.
- Hydroselection column where water is added to above alcohol to remove impurities.
- Rectification column where the diluted alcohol is concentrated to 96.4%.
- Demethylisation column where methanol is removed to produce neutral alcohol at 96.4%, which is then sent to storage tanks.
Residue from the stripper column is vinasse which is sent to the evaporator. The evaporator removes water from the vinasse to produce CMS (concentrated molasses stillage) that is then sent for storage tanks to be used as liquid fertilizer.
Omnicane Bioethanol Distillery Operations Flowchart