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Whitefox 2022 | A Year in Review, and Looking Towards the Future
At Whitefox, we are driven by one clear purpose – to reduce energy and water waste in industrial processes. By doing so, we enable society to produce more from less. From installing new plants, building strong partnerships, harnessing team values and contributing to an increasingly conscious biofuel industry, it has been a big year for us. As 2022 comes to a close, we reflect on some of our biggest achievements, and look towards the future for Whitefox.
Whitefox solutions expansion
So far on Whitefox’s journey, we have facilitated production of 130 million gallons/year (500 million litres per year) of installed capacity, enabling our clients to save the equivalent in carbon emissions of having planted 2 million trees. Our unique range of solutions offers routes to decarbonisation of industries whilst simultaneously increasing capacity.
The installations of our Whitefox ICE® solutions in 2022 have been a testament to our previous work, building trust, credibility and partnerships in membrane technology. This year, we worked on the first ICE-XL project with Western Plains, aimed at reducing the natural gas consumption of their ethanol production by 50-90%. We are proud to be an integral part in their Net Zero journey and look forward to ICE XL being a large part of widespread energy efficiency and decarbonisation strategies within the ethanol industry.
Another highlight is installing Whitefox ICE® into Golden Grain Energy, adding around 27 million gallons/year of renewable ethanol production by de-bottlenecking their plant which also facilitated energy savings of more than 1,500BTUs per gallon, and reducing their carbon intensity score. During the installation, we spent time onsite with their team and built a strong partnership with those at the plant. The company’s President, Dave Sovereign, expressed that ‘by stepping into Whitefox and using their membrane systems, we’re moving into the future’.
The power of early adoption
The acceleration in adoption of Whitefox membrane solutions would not have been possible without early adopters. A handful of people believed and trusted in Whitefox before we demonstrated the tangible impact possible through our membrane solutions. Our achievements within 2022 have had us reflecting upon those first customers, Brueggemann Alcohol in Europe, Pacific Ethanol (now called Alto Ingredients) and Pine Lake Corn Processors in the US, who pioneered our technology. Through working with them to install our technology, it gave others who wanted to be “First at being Third” confidence in Whitefox. We are grateful to them and their teams as key contributors to our successes of this year, and the future.
Industry benefits from improvements in technology, because somebody was first, and this applies to all industries. It takes people with a shared vision and willingness to take risks to cultivate change, and the leaps of faith have paid off. We see the importance of this takeaway for the climate action movement as a whole – to modernise processes and work towards global targets, we must be prepared as investors, producers and innovators to take the first step.
Growing and strengthening client partnerships through innovation
Our relationships with our clients have gone from strength to strength this year. It’s thanks to our team’s flexible, innovative approach to generating creative, actionable solutions that these relationships have thrived. An example of this is our partnership with Kansas Ethanol. Triggered by Covid-19, Kansas Ethanol were keen to adapt a Whitefox ICE® project already in motion, and produce a USP grade ethanol for hand sanitiser. We rose to the challenge through innovation. This year, we started up the first Whitefox ICE®-Flex, giving Kansas Ethanol the flexibility to switch a portion of their product between fuel and USP grade while saving significant amounts of energy compared to conventional USP production processes. Our team’s creativity, expertise and willingness to explore a challenge, coupled with an ethanol producer prepared to invest in innovation, ensures we can build meaningful cutting-edge solutions that will help deliver Net Zero.
Adaptability is our strength
Furthering this celebration of flexibility, we have spent much more time in Brazil with the aim of expanding in that area. Our inherent quality of having a globalised team has been fundamental to this shift. We have Brazilian engineers within the business which is a huge strength, as we will be able to communicate much better and understand what our clients want. We also have non-native speakers who already speak or are learning Portuguese to ensure we are maximising the opportunities within our collaboration.
Most Industrial Facilities have a chemical separation step, an aspect which potentially could be improved by using membranes. We’re always looking to try and understand where these opportunities are so we can increasingly contribute to diverse industries, energy savings and decarbonisation. Throughout the year we have participated in membrane conferences covering the entire value chain. From scientific membrane symposiums and industrial research forums, to global ethanol conferences and events focusing on new commercial applications where membrane innovations can improve energy efficiency and productivity.
Ethanol can empower local communities
This year’s energy crisis has highlighted how precarious energy supply is for many countries and individuals. The on-going uncertainty over gas supplies seems to fortify the argument for more widespread production and use of biofuels. Ethanol can be produced in almost any country and typically takes place in rural landscapes, where lack of jobs can result in migration from agricultural communities. Biofuel facilities can support local economies by creating job opportunities, not only as farmers, but agronomists, chemists, biologists and engineers etc. With the likelihood of an impending global recession, providing opportunities for improvements within local economies can cultivate both localised and global stability and longevity across countless areas.
Net Zero and decarbonisation of industry
Within the last two years we have seen a huge movement in the ethanol industry with more plants committing to Net Zero or even aiming for carbon negative. In conversations with ethanol producers, this is becoming increasingly normal in conversations. People are looking at Net Zero as a minimum, and they’re looking to achieve it across agricultural and industrial processes, carbon storage and capture. The industry is becoming much more open to new technologies, and it’s beyond exciting to see.
In addition to this, we have seen large sums of money funding the acceleration of decarbonisation. Examples include the Inflation Reduction Act in the US, along with the Renewable Fuels Association publicly stating the commitments of their members to reducing the carbon intensity (CI) of corn ethanol to 70% lower than petroleum gasoline by 2030 and to hit Net Zero by 2050.
Looking ahead to Net Zero and Whitefox growth
To move consciously forward and meet Net Zero targets, we have no choice but to decarbonise industry. 30% of all energy is consumed in industrial processes, 15% of which is taken up in some kind of chemical separation. If we’re not globally prepared to take those difficult steps to decarbonise industry, the rest is almost theoretical. As we have experienced, changing processes is a challenge, and requires collective effort with support from early adopters, investors, government support as well as innovators and their direct partners.
At Whitefox, we are committed to the tangible, and we are proud of our unique offerings allowing businesses to work towards Net Zero. Our ICE® solutions are already making a positive impact on decarbonising ethanol, and we are investing in growth to meet the demand and work with our partners to continuously push for greater energy savings, while looking at other industrial processes where membrane solutions can have a positive impact.
CEO Gillian Harrison
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.
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