AHLSTAR and SNS pumps throughout corn ethanol process

Ultramodern corn ethanol plant in Brazil uses Sulzer’s highly efficient process pumps

FS Bioenergia, located near Lucas do Rio Verde, Mato Grosso, is the first corn-only ethanol plant in Brazil and recognized as the most modern and efficient corn ethanol plant in the world. The production started in 2017 and the annual capacity is 250 million liters today. In addition to bioethanol, some high-value coproducts such as corn oil as well as high-protein and high-fiber dried distiller’s grains are produced. The plant also generates electricity from the biomass, partly for internal use and the surplus for sale.

The facility utilizes the latest process technologies from ICM, such as Selective Milling Technology™ (SMT™), Fiber Separation Technology™ (FST™), and Base Tricanter System™ (BTS™). ICM, headquartered in Colwich, KS, USA, has become a world leader in biorefining technologies and processes. The production facility is equipped with top-class pumping equipment from Sulzer.

Bioenergia corn ethanol  plant in Mato Grosso Brazil

The challenge

Each step of ethanol production from corn involves pumps with technically demanding applications. The liquids can be complex, have high solids contents, be viscous, corrosive, hot, erosive, or explosive. The right pump materials and optimal sealing systems must be carefully selected to ensure reliable and longlasting operation. Furthermore, all pumps must be highly efficient, both in terms of energy and water savings, so that the complete plant is operating to its full potential.

The solution

In close cooperation with the customer, we chose AHLSTAR and SNS pumps for all applications – from initial mash slurry transfer to final ethanol truck loading. In total, more than 80 single-stage pumps were installed. The AHLSTAR pumps in duplex material are handling liquids containing solids and other particles, while the SNS pumps are running on clean liquids. Most of the pumps are equipped with double mechanical seals.

Top-efficiency. Not only for pumps, but also for service provided throughout the project. Júlio César Santana, project manager, FS Bioenergia

Customer benefits

Sulzer has thorough experience in pumping solutions for corn-based ethanol plants worldwide. In the United States alone, more than 200 plants are in operation today, and about 70% of them are equipped with Sulzer pumps. Our successful references strengthened the confidence of the client from the very beginning of the project.

After careful commissioning and start-up, all pumps have been working perfectly. For the toughest applications, the AHLSTAR pumps with adjustable side plates provide high performances continuously. For clean liquids, the new SNS pumps simply have the highest efficiencies on the market – they exceed the benchmark efficiency index MEI 0.7.

Both the AHLSTAR and the SNS pumps have open impellers with balancing holes that optimize the shaft seal function. For pumps with double mechanical seals, it was decided after a few months’ operation to switch from API piping plan 54 (external pressurized source) to API piping plan 53 (external pressurized reservoir). This change helped to further reduce the water consumption and operational costs. The versatility of the pumps and the dedicated Sulzer service technicians made this upgrade easy and fast.

During 2018, a duplicate of the existing plant will be built. This will double the production capacity of the Lucas do Rio Verde site. Extremely satisfied with the collaboration, FS Bioenergia recently ordered 65 new Sulzer pumps for this extension.

Product specification

The corn ethanol plant has a total of 83 Sulzer single-stage process pumps in duplex or stainless steel 316 materials.

The AHLSTAR and SNS pump ranges have a wide choice of wet end sizes to cover exactly the required flows (2 to 1’230 m³/h) and heads (4 to 105 m). This allows the pumps to always run at duty points close to the best efficiency points, which means direct and maximized savings in energy costs.

 

Pumps Single seal Double seals
AHLSTAR 23 44
SNS 16 -
Products
  • SNS end-suction single-stage process pump range
    The SNS end-suction pump has been designed to exceed the highest energy efficiency regulations across all industries and also the design requirements of ISO 5199 international standard. The innovative design makes this centrifugal pump more reliable while significantly reducing total cost of ownership.

  • ISO 5199 process pumps
    The international standard ISO 5199 specifies the requirements for class II end-suction centrifugal pumps of single-stage, multistage, horizontal or vertical construction, with any drive and any installation for general application. Process pumps used in the chemical process industries (e.g those conforming to ISO 2858) are typical of those covered by this international standard.
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