Vortex Research Inc.
Research and Product Development

Copyright © 1986-2012, Vortex Research Inc. All Rights Reserved

Custom Designs

Robotics Controllers
Multipoint Digital I/O
& 24Ch A/D & D/A
(Commercial and Military)

Complex Waveform
Generators (Commercial and Military)

16/24 Channel
Electric Fence Detection and
System Controller

Fast Prototyping and Concept Proofing
(Lake/Ocean bottom Silt Level Detection)

Cellulose Ethanol Processing and

Lighting and Robotics


Co-Generation Information

Presently, the rules in Ontario, Canada concerning generators, is that you may run a 500kw generator or less with no license requirements. In addition, ethanol or diesel fuel used in the production of electricity is not subject to excise taxes (fuel taxes). Also, the OEB (Ontario Energy Board) and the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) have all the rules and forms, including the SOP and other co-gen forms at the OEB and CRA websites.

Energy Generation


Bio-Diesel can be produced from a number of oil based crops such as canola, sunflower, peanuts, algae, etc. or spent/used automobile engine oil can also be processed. The process is very straight forward and requires a couple of vats, heaters, methanol, lye and water. You can quite easily process 200 gallons every 4 hours. But you have to source your convertible fuel, the used oil that will be turned into bio-diesel fuel. An item of note; not running a proper process will allow waste products to collect in your combustion engine, in addition these waste products may produce excess Sulphur and Nitrogen Oxide/Dioxide which may contravene the governments rules and standards on emissions. Always use a process that will result in the reduction of harmful emissions.


Since ethanol is alcohol, the government has some interesting requirements, they don’t want you drinking this stuff and personally, I would rather make money and have the occasional rye whiskey rather than expose my brain to 200 proof (100% ethanol). You require a still license (spirit license) which although it has no cost, there is a cost. The Canada Revenue Agency requires a surety bond of anywhere from $5,000 to $2 million dependent upon how much ethanol you will “store.” In an on-demand system with literally no storage capacity, the government still wants what they consider to be their $5k. But you must also denature the ethanol with methanol or gasoline or some other suitable poison even though, the ethanol is destroyed almost immediately after production (in accordance with subsection 145), in a combustion engine to produce electricity. Again, their is no excise tax on denatured fuel alcohol to produce electricity, but there are legal constraints, consult your local legislation.

Making ethanol is a little trickier than converting oil to bio-diesel. You require;

  • a hammer mill to powder your feedstock
  • a kiln to dry your feedstock and to bake lignin/still waste into fuel
  • an intermediate process to further reduce feedstock particle size
  • a vat or long process (heated) to add enzymes to break down the cellulose into sugars
  • a vat or long process (heated) to add yeast and/or enzymes to create the ethanol
  • a still or column to distill the alcohol (ethanol)
  • a waste processing system for lignin and other solids
  • a collection system for yeast cream (sellable commodity)
  • a water reclamation and re-circulation system to reduce water usage

The Generator

The size of the generator you want to use will determine the size of the engine required. One horsepower is roughly 750 watts (0.75kw), so in a perfect world a 100hp engine could produce 75kwatts but the world isn’t perfect, combustion engines are only about 35% efficient., Which means as a baseline for 500kwatts you need about 1100hp. In all cases you add roughly 25% capacity as a safety margin and for inefficiencies in drive trains, couplings and other factors, which gives you about 1400hp. This is not a huge diesel or ethanol powered engine and some automobile engines can be converted fairly easily to run on 95% - 100% ethanol while producing in excess of 1200hp.


For bio-diesel you can acquire fuel from restaurants, car dealerships, vehicle lubrication companies, anywhere that throws away spent oil. For ethanol, grass clippings, leaves, dead trees, paper, cardboard, literally any form of processable cellulose.

Enzymes for Cellulose Conversion and Super Yeast

These enzyme based products can be purchased from three specialty suppliers in Canada (Iogen), the US (Genencor) and Denmark (Novozymes). The costs for material processing are generally between 20 and 40 cents per gallon depending on the complexity of the process and the enzyme supplier.

The best way to go online with Ethanol

Possibly the most effective way to start up and manage ethanol production is to start with bio-diesel co-generation, it keeps your costs down and provides all the electricity you need to drive the ethanol process with a considerable amount left over for sale to the local electricity provider. Bio-diesel co-generation also provides a low maintenance source of generating capital for expansion. The present cost of electricity in Ontario, Canada(May 31, 2008) is approximately 11.8 cents per kilowatt hour. Selling electricity from your cogen at 10.8 cents per kilowatt hour on a system running 24/7 at 500kwatts is $473,040 per year gross sales, less maintenance, fuel processing and other costs, so you can expect a net profit of between $100,000 and $150,000 if the initial costs are amortized over a three year period.


We can export systems to anywhere in the world, at the present time the cost FOB our fabrication facility for a complete bio-diesel process line and generator set is roughly $750,000 per megawatt. A complete ethanol process line and generator set has a cost FOB our fabrication facility for $750,000 to $950,000 per megawatt depending on the type of generator set used. The buyer is responsible for all duties, shipping and meeting any local regulations. The ethanol process, although it requires some government regulation because of the still, produces cleaner exhaust, uses waste cellulose as feedstock and requires less engine maintenance due to the cleaner burn.

This is an excellent system for growing and expanding economies, such as those found in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, remote areas of Canada and Russia, and certain areas of Africa where electricity and fuel are at a premium. However this system can be used in any country to reduce fuel costs and distribute the generation of electricity. Lower and controlled energy costs mean greater competitiveness on the global stage.

Economic Impact

Co-generation provides a number of very specific benefits within the economy and community;

  • 1. Cogen operators have greater control over energy costs, meaning they can discount electrical costs far below the main utility suppliers. Local government and distributed PCU’s can take control of their individual areas and promote local economic growth by adjusting energy rates to bring business to them.
  • 2. Cogen operators take the price fixing away from the government and large utilities and put it into the hands of the consumers. Nothing kills a town, a province or a country faster than greed.
  • 3. Cogen operators employ small groups per plant from the local community, which means more jobs for people in the local area, especially in rural and remote areas where gainful employment is at a premium. More jobs means more money pumped into the local economy, which means greater opportunity.
  • 4. Distributed electrical generation means distributed population which enables new businesses and technologies to flourish anywhere within a country and does not limit expansion or the expression of new businesses to only major population centres. Every family spends between $2,500 and $4,500 per month in their local community and a 1 megawatt cogen employs 5-6 people which means $10k to $27k per month spent locally in grocery stores, rentals, fuel, theaters, restaurants, etc..
  • 5. Cogeneration provides freedom, freedom to chose where you want to live and work, rather than being tied down to a high density overpopulated location filled with pollution, crime and government controls.
  • 6. Cogeneration provides greater independence and control over direction. When you have local control over your fuel sources, you have increased options which means you have greater amounts of latitude in developing programs, infrastructure and your community without government interference.
  • 7. Excess ethanol production from cogeneration provides fuel to power vehicles, which means a reduction in transportation costs. Three dollars a gallon ($0.70/liter) is a lot better than six dollars a gallon and gasoline/oil is going to get worse! Fuel costs for vehicles could even be reduced further, possibly down to $2.00 per gallon or $0.45 per liter, if the distributed cogen systems subsidized the fuel costs for vehicles by charging $0.07 per kwh in total (Ontario is 11.8 cents per kwh total).

Simple Cost Analysis

What value will this produce @ 1000 gallons per day and 500kw generation






House/Plant/Location Heating/AC





Fuel for Vehicles





Fuel for Cogeneration


40 gph


















Ontario Utils payment per kwh





Excess Generation capacity minimum



500kw, 25kw used


Hours in day





Total Cogen Receivables


per day





days per yr



Total Cogen Receivables


per year



Maintenance @ 10%





Feedstock Costs (delivered)




tons/yr and cost/ton

Enzyme Costs




gallons/yr and cost/gallon

Yeast Costs




gallons/yr and cost/gallon

Labour Costs




hours/yr and cost/hr

Total Gross Profit after Costs










Ethanol Production would be


over what is presently being performed by current processes

Want to know more?

Simply contact us and specify your requirements. We will provide a detailed quote. Costs for systems of this nature generally run between $1,000,00,000 and $1,300,000 per megawatt with an end cost of between $0.10/kwh (ethanol) and $0.155/kwh (methanol). The standard electrical utility cost (Hydro One) in Ontario works out to roughly $0.118/kwh. Many processes are capital cost intensive on the front end, meaning they require greater capital investment but produce a longer investment return period.

We are finding that ethanol produces the lowest initial investment and the highest return in the shortest period of time*. This coupled with the fact that ethanol is a renewable source fuel which burns extremely clean, makes it ideal for applications requiring low environmental impact in any location. In addition our process is based on cellulose conversion (wood, leaves, grass, paper, refuse, etc) rather than sugar based food-stock conversion, such as corn, soya, sugar beets, etc. We don’t see the point in talking the food out of people’s mouths so they can run it in their cars or make electricity, it would just drive the cost of food to ridiculous levels.

We are presently considering joint ventures in other countries. This would enable increases in the value of their local businesses and economies, decrease shipping costs and place expertise and technology in the local area. If you feel your group can benefit from stimulating local economies through cogeneration, please contact us for details.

* Bio-Diesel actually has the lowest initial cost for the conversion process, but not everyone has access to thousands of gallons of convertible oil per year. Another problem with bio-diesel is limiting Sulphur and NO/NO2 emissions. If you have access to about 12000 gallons per month of spent vehicle oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, canola oil, vegetable oil, cooking oil, etc. we can provide the process and system to generate 500kwatts (17gph @ 500kw full load, w/diesel engine modifications). But for every 10 gallons of bio-diesel produced you will have one gallon of glyceride waste to either store or dispose of in a proper manner.



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