Sugar Valley Energy (SVE), a subsidiary of California Ethanol & Power LLC (CE+P), and STARS Technology Corporation (STARS) announced a collaboration agreement to deploy hydrogen production technology at SVE’s planned, fully permitted 160-acre (65 ha) sugarcane ethanol biorefinery, bioelectric, biogas, and wastewater treatment facility in Imperial Valley, California.
The SVE-STARS agreement envisions the deployment of up to 80 STARS-250 hydrogen generators, producing low-cost, renewable hydrogen that meets the new Federal Clean Hydrogen standard. These generators would be installed at SVE’s low-carbon ethanol plant that will produce more than 70 million gallons (265 million liters) of low-carbon ethanol each year. The hydrogen generators would also potentially be installed at nearby hydrogen fueling stations.
“We are excited about the potential to partner with STARS Technology Corporation to bring their state-of-the-art hydrogen production technology to our low-carbon renewable sugarcane ethanol and power project,” said Dave Rubenstein, president and chief executive officer of CE+P. “This collaboration aligns with our commitment to sustainable energy solutions and will revolutionize the production and use of clean hydrogen.”
“This collaboration between SVE and STARS represents a significant milestone in advancing clean energy solutions and propelling sustainable development in Imperial Valley and beyond,” said Robert S. Wegeng, STARS president and chief technology officer.
Clean Hydrogen From The Biofuel Production Process
The biogas created from the waste products of the locally grown sugarcane to ethanol process would provide feedstock to the STARS hydrogen generators. Collectively, the 80 STARS-250 generators can produce up to 44,092 pounds (20,000 kg) of clean hydrogen per day, the equivalent to the typical daily fueling needs of more than 30,000 fuel cell light-duty passenger vehicles or more than 500 hydrogen fuel cell buses.
Biomethane derived from the organic byproducts of ethanol production will be used for on-site hydrogen production using STARS generators and hydrogen will fuel the trucks and heavy equipment involved in sugarcane cultivation. Onsite hydrogen production will also enable the on-site production of ammonia, supplying SVE with a low-carbon crop fertilizer. In addition, SVE plans to inject a portion of its biomethane into nearby pipelines as renewable natural gas (RNG). This RNG can then be converted into clean hydrogen using distributed STARS hydrogen generators at filling stations throughout the region.
The collaboration between SVE and STARS can establish an agricultural-energy cycle where virtually all energy and materials produced by SVE will be converted into high-value products for use within the region while creating long-term stability for growers and clean energy jobs.
The effort to grow sugarcane for the SVE project is expected to support an estimated 2000 agricultural jobs, along with approximately 200 on-site employees who will run the energy campus. The three-year construction of the project will support thousands of additional construction jobs, local economic activity, as well as city and county revenue.
The integration of STARS’ advanced technology with SVE’s sugarcane ethanol and power facility can provide significant benefits throughout Imperial Valley, California, and Arizona for years to come. These benefits extend to energy, transportation, as well as the environment, economy, and society of the region.