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Accelerating Innovation and Energy Savings in order to make Net Zero a Reality


Accelerating innovation and energy savings in order to make Net Zero a reality

In industrial countries, thirty percent of all energy usage is down to industry production, half of which comes from chemical separation. With that said, it’s no surprise that emphasis on energy efficient separation technologies such as membranes are gathering momentum in the quest to reduce Carbon dependency and make Net Zero objectives a reality.

For the past two decades, Whitefox has been addressing energy efficiency in industrial processes, helping biofuel and ethanol plant managers across the globe to be able to produce more with less impact on the environment, making Net Zero targets a reality.

Our membranes are inspired by nature but we have innovated and developed a versatile and highly scalable technology which serves multiple market segments through energy efficient process enhancing solutions. Energy savings are in our DNA and we remain committed to continuously innovate and help our customers achieve Net Zero objectives towards an increasingly conscious, efficient industry.


What does Net Zero carbon really mean?

The concept of Net Zero carbon emissions emerged from physical climate science but has become operationalized through social, political and economic systems. In simple terms, Net Zero Carbon, also known as carbon neutrality, refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. In industrial terms, it means lowering carbon intensity scores through reducing operational emissions whilst also removing or “offsetting” to reach zero.


Next level membrane dehydration – up to 50% more output for up to 50% less energy 

 Until recently, Whitefox’s energy-efficient membrane technology has been plugged into existing dehydration infrastructures to help debottleneck customers’ processes and deliver operational efficiencies. This has given ethanol and biofuel plants across the United States and Europe the opportunity to reduce their natural gas dependency by up to 30%. Our latest solution, Whitefox ICE®-XL, is a sole membrane dehydration system where no alternative technology is needed, resulting in enhanced energy savings.

As mentioned in our recent press releaseWestern Plains Energy (WPE) through their vision and focus on reducing their Carbon footprint will be first to adopt our new Whitefox ICE®-XL system as part of their Net Zero commitment. Whitefox’s innovative membrane technology will further improve WPE’s efficiency and competitive advantage. The new Whitefox ICE®-XL solution will enable energy savings of up to 50% whilst also increasing production capacity by up to 50%. When combined with further innovation from Whitefox on complementary energy recovery technology and working in combination with modern and agricultural practices and renewable energy sources, such as wind power and biomass will reduce the demand for fossil fuels, such as natural gas to almost Zero, thus propelling Net Zero from an aspirational concept to reality.


Implications for ethanol and biofuel production

Ethanol and biofuels have always been viable alternatives to oil and gas, but like most industrial processes, they require consumption of carbon-based feedstocks. Advancement in membrane dehydration technologies, has provided real and available solutions that today displaces the need for these carbon-based sources.

Whilst there are multiple pathways for reducing carbon intensity, Whitefox ICE®-XL due to the simplicity and efficiency of its design is based on proven and reliable experience of 20 years of dehydrating ethanol. This knowledge provides us with the confidence that solutions are available today and not in the distant future. This makes ethanol a valuable and abundant material which contributes to a thriving economy, simultaneously reducing the necessity and dependency of fossil fuel imports.

Through this innovative technology, we recognise that our capabilities are able to go far beyond ethanol production and transform other industries that currently rely on energy intensive separation processes. We can drive true change towards an increasingly conscious future.


Learning from history; Increasing ethanol blends in fuels

The world is up against a frightening energy crisis, that’s an unavoidable fact. Wholesale gas prices have skyrocketed and countries are struggling to recover from post-pandemic shortages. Although there is no one simple answer to how the world should cope, one thing that won’t hurt doing is learning from history.

The early 1970’s oil crisis forced countries worldwide to examine their energy policies and find ways to reduce their dependence on oil and other foreign energy sources. If we look at Brazil as an example, the majority of their energy came from imported oil. As prices went through the roof, Brazil developed ways to replace oil with ethanol, and above all, give consumers the ability to choose. Gas stations introduced new fuel blends with higher ethanol contents (up to 100% ethanol) and in the meantime they worked to become the lowest carbon ethanol producers on the planet using its own natural resource, sugarcane.

Today, Brazil is home to the world’s largest fleet of cars using ethanol derived from sugarcane as a direct substitute for fossil fuel based petroleum. In 2021, renewable energy sources accounted for 78.1 percent of the nation’s total electricity supply through the innovative adoption of bagasse (woody biomass by-product) as a natural and abundant fuel source.


Reducing fossil fuel dependency

Brazil has shown us that it’s possible to create a thriving economy whilst moving away from the dependency of importing oil and gas. By carefully understanding that our resources are finite and by having the foresight to plan for the future and working with pioneers who are taking the lead in biofuel production, the momentum for Net Zero is real and accelerating.

In addition, there’s one inescapable fact: the use of ethanol in the US has prevented 500 million tonnes of carbon from going into the atmosphere – we can visualise this as the equivalent of taking  off the road. With that said, it is clear that ethanol has a valuable place in the global transportation market. Whilst renewable energy supply is at an all-time high, it is evident that current supply demands are unattainable. Consequently, investment in resources and infrastructure is essential to accelerate the displacement of fossil fuels.

The state of the world calls for innovative technology to lead the way. Our membranes are an efficiency-oriented and forward looking response to both rising energy costs and the on-going climate crisis.

By working together, we combine our knowledge, resources and capabilities to cultivate the future we need to transition to (and beyond) a Net Zero reality. Whilst the emphasis has provided examples in the USA and Brazil, rising energy costs and GHG emissions are not restricted to prescribed borders, they affect all of us on this fragile planet. Europe, are you with us on this decarbonisation journey?

About Whitefox Technologies Limited

Whitefox Technologies, with 22 years of industrial experience, is a leading solutions provider for fuel ethanol and other alcohol production processes. Specializing in technology development and process integration based on proprietary membrane solutions, its efficient designs reduce energy and water consumption in fuel ethanol and other renewable fuel and chemical production processes. Whitefox provides solutions for alcohol producers in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and South America.

For further information:

Trond Heggenhougen
Whitefox Technologies
+44 (0)20-7953-8408