The most efficient ethanol plant in Europe
At the Zeitz location, CropEnergies Bioethanol GmbH operates an ethanol plant with a capacity of about 400,000 m³ of ethanol, of which 60,000 m³ is high-purity neutral alcohol, more than 300,000 tonnes of protein feed and 100,000 tonnes of liquefied CO2 per year.
The site was commissioned in 2005 and impresses with modern production processes: Permanent optimization and expansion are an integral part of the site's concept. From the supply of raw materials and energy to the design of the core process and the production of high-quality food and animal feed, new paths have been taken. The biorefinery in Zeitz is characterised by high raw material and product flexibility. Ethanol production in Zeitz has been certified as sustainable since 2010.
A wide range of raw materials can be processed in Zeitz, with the advantage of being embedded in the Südzucker Group's site. In addition to various types of grain such as wheat, corn, barley and triticale, intermediate products from sugar and starch production can also be used for ethanol production. This enables CropEnergies to flexibly adjust the raw material supply in Zeitz to developments on the raw material markets and to reduce raw material costs. Only raw materials of European origin are processed.
The energy efficiency of the production process in Zeitz is characterized above all by the multiple use of energy in various process stages. The plant includes an energy centre with a very high degree of efficiency. The modern cogeneration system covers more than the plant's own electrical energy requirements, which means that surplus electricity can also be fed into the public grid.
The Zeitz site is located in the middle of one of Germany's largest wheat growing areas and in the immediate vicinity of the sugar and starch factory operated by Südzucker AG - in other words, exactly where the raw materials needed for production can be sourced. The plant also has excellent connections to the rail and road network: A dedicated Internet-based platform was developed to guarantee the even distribution of transport vehicles throughout the day. This enables good traffic control with the advantage that the surrounding area of the site is hardly affected. Customers and the suppliers benefit from low waiting times and plannable return loads.
The plant in Zeitz is also characterised by optimised utilisation of the co-products arising during ethanol production.
By means of gentle, indirect drying and pelletisation, CropEnergies refines the stillage produced into a product that can be stored and transported. The resulting animal feed DDGS (Distillers' Dried Grains with Solubles), which CropEnergies markets under the brand name ProtiGrain®, is used for all types of livestock as well as in pet food because of its high protein and fat content and its advantageous energy content. In addition, liquefied carbon dioxide is obtained. The CO2 produced during the fermentation of raw materials containing sugar or starch is captured, purified and liquefied. This enables CTB Biocarbonic GmbH to produce 100,000 tonnes of food-grade liquid CO2 per year, which is used as carbonic acid in the food industry, as a coolant and freezing agent, and for the production of dry ice as a cleaning agent.
Since 2015, neutral alcohol has also been produced in Zeitz. The plant can produce up to 60,000 m3 of high-purity alcohol annually for the beverage, cosmetics and food industries.