Sunoco project wins highest award from ACEC New York’s Engineering Excellence Competition

ACEC_Sunoco_PanelC&S Companies is proud to announce that one of the firm’s projects was honored with a top award by the American Council of Engineering Companies, New York Chapter in their annual Engineering Excellence competition. The project, Sunoco Slurry Process System Upgrades, received a Diamond Award—the highest award given at the state level. As a diamond-level winner, the project was also submitted into the national competition, which comprises diamond-award winners from all 50 states.

The Sunoco biofuel plant located in Fulton is the largest biofuel production facility in New York. The plant converts corn to fuel grade ethanol and other bi-products like corn oil and dried distillers grain. One of the key steps in this process is adding water, steam and enzymes to corn flour to create a consistent slurry. C&S upgraded the entire slurry blending system to reduce excessive water and enzyme usage. The plant slurry process was retrofitted with a new state-of-the-art slurry blender which provides reliable mixing of the corn flour with hot water and the enzyme. To place the 9,000-pound blender, a new mezzanine, monorail system and rigging had to be constructed. The blender was lifted three stories by crane, and moved carefully through an opening that was created through an exterior wall. The blender then was moved by monorail 60 feet into the building, over and around operating plant equipment.

The combination and integration of the various pieces of new equipment are unique to this ethanol facility and provide a model for similar vintage ethanol plants to improve efficiency and production rates. The new system has reduced enzyme usage by 50 percent and water usage by 20 gallons per minute, annually saving 5 million gallons of fresh water. The entire process modification from concept to commissioning took only four months, and the anticipated payback period for the investment will be less than one year.

ACEC is the voice of America’s engineering industry. The more than 5,500 firms comprising the council’s membership are engaged in a wide range of engineering works that propel the nation’s economy, and enhance and safeguard America’s quality of life.