Biofuels firm Aemetis has started the construction of its solar microgrid system at the Aemetis Advanced Fuels biorefinery in Keyes, California that will be integrated with the Rockwell/Allen Bradley distributed control system (DCS).
The new microgrid will include a 2-MW photovoltaic (PV) array and a 1.25-MW battery energy storage system.
TotalEnergies will supply the PV and work as the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor.
The TotalEnergies and Schneider Electric solar microgrid system will have an AI-enabled control system, running on virtualized servers. It will reduce the amount of computer hardware needed by 80%. This means less power will be needed to operate the system than traditional systems. The virtualized system will also help reduce the planned and unplanned downtime.
“The microgrid creates energy resiliency and will assist with off peak load shedding and energy efficiency,” stated Eric McAfee, Chairman and CEO of Aemetis. “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,” he continued. “Aemetis can also displace natural gas with carbon negative Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) upgraded and injected at the same facility in Keyes, California”.
The solar array could generate about 3.2 million kWh annually and reduce GHG emissions by approximately 8,000 MT CO2e per year. The foundations of the solar array are under construction. The project is expected to complete in the second quarter of 2023.
The $12 million solar microgrid project is supported by a grant of $8 million from the California Energy Commission.
Founded in 2006, Aemetis owns and operates several biofuels facilities. Those include the 60-million-gallon-per-year ethanol production in California's Central Valley as well as facility in India producing distilled biodiesel and refined glycerin for customers in that nation.