Aemetis, a provider of natural gas and biofuels, announced it will construct a solar microgrid in partnership with TotalEnergies and Schneider Electric.
The project includes 2 MW of solar and a 1.25 MW battery energy storage system to be integrated with a new Rockell/Allen Bradley distributed control system. The array will generate an estimated 3.2 million kWh per year at the Keyes, California biorefinery.
The $12 million solar microgrid with battery backup and AI-enabled controls was supported by an $8 million grant by the California Energy Commission.
Foundations for the array are now under construction, with commissioning of the microgrid expected to come in the second quarter of 2023. TotalEnergies is supplying the project’s PV components and is responsible for engineering, procurement and construction.
The facility is expected to offset approximately 8,000 MT carbon emissions per year. “The microgrid creates energy resiliency and will assist with off peak load shedding and energy efficiency,” stated Eric McAfee, chair and CEO of Aemetis.
The system has AI-enabled controls run on virtualized servers, which Aemetis said will reduce the amount of computer hardware needed by 80%, thereby saving on power usage. Virtualized systems do not require changing hardware to upgrade obsolete operating systems or security changes, and the systems are expected to reduce planned and unplanned downtime.
“This microgrid, along with other energy saving technologies being implemented at our low-carbon ethanol facility, will further reduce the carbon intensity score of the fuel ethanol produced,” said McAfee. “Aemetis can also displace natural gas with carbon negative Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) upgraded and injected at the same facility in Keyes, California.”
Founded in 2006, Aemetis is expanding a California biogas digester network and pipeline system to convert dairy waste gas into “renewable natural gas.” The company owns and operates a 65 million gallon per year ethanol production facility in California’s Central Valley near Modesto that supplies about 80 dairies with animal feed.
Aemetis also owns and operates a 50 million gallon per year production facility on the East Coast of India, producing high-quality distilled biodiesel and refined glycerin for customers in India and Europe. In another project, the company is developing Carbon Zero Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel fuel biorefineries in California from renewable oils and orchard and forest waste.
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