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Western Railroad Discussion > Front Range Energy Ethanol Plant east of Windsor, CO


Date: 05/31/06 19:39
Front Range Energy Ethanol Plant east of Windsor, CO
Author: cozephyr

Unit corn trains began arriving at Front Range Energy's new $60 million ethanol plant in Windsor's industrial park in mid-May 2006. It is Colorado's second full-scale ethanol plant.

Front Range Energy, employing 35 at an annual wage of about $37,000, will produce 40 million gallons of ethanol a year. Ethanol is used to boost octane in gasoline as well as reduce carbon monoxide emissions.

Sanders is 54 percent owner of the Windsor plant, chosen because of rail access and proximity to Western ethanol markets as well as Front Range markets for plant byproducts carbon dioxide and wet distillery grain. His son, Dan Sanders Jr., is company manager.

Minority stake owners are Eagle Energy LLC in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Industry Consulting and Marketing of Colwich, Kan., which designed and built the plant.

The process kicked off four years ago when Sanders hired a Denver consultant and started scouting locations. Windsor and Weld County officials, eager to boost employment, jumped on board after touring a similar ethanol plant in Kansas in late 2004. In 2005, Front Range Energy bought 40 acres and annexed into Windsor.

The plant will process 15 million bushels of corn a year -- or 40,000 a day -- to produce ethanol for Western markets, as well as 330,000 tons of wet distillery grain (about 38 truckloads a day), a feed supplement, for area feedlots and dairies. The plant eventually will sell the 285 tons of carbon dioxide produced per day.

Construction is still underway at the plant as of May 31, 2006. Note the plant has two tracks to help hold 75-110 car unit trains of corn. Great Western Railway serves the plant via the former Colorado & Southern Fort Collins - Windsor - Greeley, CO, line. Great Western and Union Pacific are looking into restoring the rail connection at Greeley, CO, which would give Great Western Railway an 8-mile on tangent track delivery route to this new ethanol operation. Restored rial connection not expected to be installed until 2007 at the earliest pending UP approval. (Greeley Tribune contributed to this report)








Date: 05/31/06 20:19
Re: Front Range Energy Ethanol Plant east of Windsor, C
Author: NH2006

Ah ha! I was wondering where all the red ballast in the North yard went!



Date: 05/31/06 22:21
Re: Front Range Energy Ethanol Plant east of Windsor, C
Author: Pinlifter

So I guess most the ethanol will go via UP then. Shame BNSF can't contribute. A long ethanol train would look great snaking along the front range sub. ;-)



Date: 05/31/06 22:58
Re: Front Range Energy Ethanol Plant east of Windsor, C
Author: eatontm

Well we do have our Bonneville sulfur trains....

TME

Pinlifter Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A long ethanol train
> would look great snaking along the front range
> sub. ;-)



Date: 06/01/06 04:43
C&S Phone Booth Knocked Over RD 66 by GW Grade Xing Wor
Author: cozephyr

Great Western Railway had a contractor replace the grade crossing east of Windsor, CO, on RD 66 where spur goes into new Front Range Energy plant. The former Colorado & Southern Railway (yes, Great Western Rly now owns/operates ex-C&S Fort Collins to Greeley, CO, line) phone booth was knocked over during work to replace rail (136#) and ties at the grade crossing. Phone booth had a wasps nest on the circular roof. The spur and phone booth were built when Eastman Kodak was built.

Omnitrax SD-9 4327 and Central Kansas Railway lettered GP-7 713 took five cars east to Greeley. They switched Colorado Bean between Windsor and Greeley swapping out a covered hopper and dropping off a tank car May 31, 2006.

The former Colorado & Southern Railway connection with Union Pacific's Greeley Subdivision at Greeley was removed years ago. The north leg of the wye is out of service as shown May 31st. The south leg provides Great Western Railway the ability to serve a few customers in Greeley. Great Western Rly wants to reestablish this connection for the increased Front Range Energy rail traffic.








Date: 06/01/06 07:05
Here's where we get away from relying so much on petrol
Author: frontrangeflyer

From some reading I've done ("An Energy Revolution", The American Enterprise, March, 2006), I'd say there's a lot more potential to this plant and others like it. FFV's (flexible fuel vehicles) that can use a mixture of gasoline and alcohol are already coming on line. A recent Chevy truck can use a fuel that is 20% ethanol. Do the math and you will see that even a small percentage of gasoline replaced by ethanol adds up very quickly. The US has a chance to get into the ethanol market in a big way. In this case, we could be a fuel exporter rather than importer. Methanol from coal has similar potential, and there's a lot of coal in the US not to mention Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. I don't think the ecoblockers can stop this the way they have stymied US petroleum production. By the way, good reporting Cozephyr! . . Joe S.



Date: 06/01/06 20:59
Re: Here's where we get away from relying so much on pe
Author: FriendlySP

frontrangeflyer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> From some reading I've done ("An Energy
> Revolution", The American Enterprise, March,
> 2006), I'd say there's a lot more potential to
> this plant and others like it. FFV's (flexible
> fuel vehicles) that can use a mixture of gasoline
> and alcohol are already coming on line. A recent
> Chevy truck can use a fuel that is 20% ethanol.
> Do the math and you will see that even a small
> percentage of gasoline replaced by ethanol adds up
> very quickly. The US has a chance to get into the
> ethanol market in a big way. In this case, we
> could be a fuel exporter rather than importer.
> Methanol from coal has similar potential, and
> there's a lot of coal in the US not to mention
> Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. I don't think the
> ecoblockers can stop this the way they have
> stymied US petroleum production. By the way, good
> reporting Cozephyr! . . Joe S.

Short term I understand that the Congressionaly mandated mix of ethanol and gas will cost a little more at the pump because there isn't yet enough of it available to meet the need. Long run, I'd rather pay a farmer than someone in the Middle East.

Nice pictures, as always.

Bob K.
Tucson



Date: 06/02/06 02:48
Re: Here's where we get away from relying so much on pe
Author: DRGW

I've heard some people say that it takes as much fossil fuel to produce the ethanol (from sowing the seeds on up the production chain) than is saved by using the ethanol that is produced. Can anyone knowledgable about the subject please speak up to provide some information or numbers or research as to the truth of the matter? Right now I don't know what to believe...
Thanks,
-Wes



Date: 06/02/06 09:49
Re: Here's where we get away from relying so much on pe
Author: atsf2333

From what I've heard recently, growing corn takes lots of fuel and water, and thus ethanol from corn is not the best course (let's not open the corn subsidy can of worms). Ethanol can be produced form the cellulose of plants that take less effort/energy/water to grow and is much more efficient. However, corn is a versatile crop that can easily be transfered to various uses as needed, but at a high energy penalty.

Do a search on the author Michael Pollan--he has two books that touch on the subject of corn. Once you look into the subject of corn growing and subsidy in America, you will be amazed (or "a-maized" -- sorry I couldn't resist)!

ATSF 2333



Date: 06/02/06 10:17
Re: Here's where we get away from relying so much on pe
Author: pepperidge

DRGW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've heard some people say that it takes as much
> fossil fuel to produce the ethanol (from sowing
> the seeds on up the production chain) than is
> saved by using the ethanol that is produced. Can
> anyone knowledgable about the subject please speak
> up to provide some information or numbers or
> research as to the truth of the matter? Right now
> I don't know what to believe...
> Thanks,
> -Wes

Wes,

Here's a response from the American Coalition for Ethanol: http://www.ethanol.org/PressRelease71905bhtm.htm It's an industry source, so they are obviously going to put their own slant on it, but it makes sense to me. On the other hand, I have a colleague who teaches physics who thinks ethanol is a complete hoax.

Pepperidge



Date: 06/02/06 11:05
Re: Here's where we get away from relying so much on pe
Author: ts1457

DRGW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ... Can
> anyone knowledgable about the subject please speak
> up to provide some information or numbers or
> research as to the truth of the matter? Right now
> I don't know what to believe...
> Thanks,
> -Wes

David Pimentel (pronounced: pim-men-TELL), a Cornell University agriculturalist, is frequently cited for his research that shows ethanol as a net energy loser. Here is one article, but a search will yield many more:

http://www.energybulletin.net/16549.html

I've been on the fence as far as alcohol based fuels go, but of all the alternatives, I think it is the one that can help solve our "petroleum" crisis the quickest. Flex fuel vehicles that can burn alcohol - gasoline blends in various combinations are coming on the market. Making a vehicle flex fuel capable does not add much to the cost. I just think they need to be methanol capable as well as ethanol capable. Methanol might be cheaper in a place with access to coal, say West Virginia. A lot of innovations is going on with producing alcohol that will improve the efficiency of conversion. I think it is important to eliminate the subsidies and tariffs and get a free market solution for our energy crisis. My only external interferences with the market would be to require that all new gasoline powered vehicles sold be flex fuel capable, and possibly tax incentives for adding alternative fuel pumps.



Date: 06/02/06 17:20
Re: Here's where we get away from relying so much on pe
Author: ProAmtrak

All I can say is everyone will be happy once the gas prices go below 3.00 a gallon! that also explains why the gas prices went up like crazy 2 months ago, but then again it can be an excuse on why the prices went up as usual!



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