Atlantic City Council tours new Elite Octane Ethanol Plant


June 14th, 2018 by Chris Parks

Atlantic City Council Members were led on a tour of the new Elite Octane Ethanol Plant on Wednesday night by Elite Octane President and CEO Nick Bowdish. The dry mill ethanol plant intends to begin operating near full capacity sometime next week.

The plant is very visible on the north side of Atlantic due to its two 156-foot in diameter, 150-foot tall Sukup corn storage bins. Each bin (which Sukup says can encase a 757) has the capacity for 2 million bushels for a total corn storage capacity of 4 million bushels. Mr. Bowdish talked about the supporting structure of those bins.

One of the first stops on the tour was the corn-receiving area near those large bins. One of the highlights of the operation is the speed and efficiency of the grain dumping process.

The corn that is received goes through a grinding process to create a flour for the first part of the ethanol making process which Bowdish explained.

After the starches are converted to sugar, Bowdish said the process becomes akin to brewing beer.

Further processing separates the alcohol from the dry distillers grain and water. The dry distillers grain is sold as livestock feed around the world. The plant also yields some corn oil that is mostly sold to bio-diesel plants to use in their process.  The ethanol eventually has to be blended with 2% gasoline to comply with federal regulations and prevent the alcohol from being used in other ways.

Bowdish thanked the council for their work in helping get the gray water project completed to the plant. He said that water will supply all of the cooling needs for the plant and will cut down the use of fresh water that a normal plant would use by about 2/3. He said due to new FDA regulations they will have to use wells for the water that contacts the grain.

During the process the only product emitted out of the stack from the plant will be water vapor.

Bowdish addressed concerns about odor coming from the plant saying he doesn’t expect there to be much that is noticeable but will let the public decide for themselves.

The plant has the holding capacity for 6 million gallons of ethanol which Bowdish said is about 15 days of production for the plant.

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