March On

FROM THE MARCH ISSUE: Editor Lisa Gibson previews the magazine, including feature articles about alternative cleaning methods, a study that highlights the befits of various fractionation techniques, developments in yeast strains, and more.
By Lisa Gibson | February 20, 2020

My favorite thing about being a part of the ethanol industry is the fact that we’re helping decrease fossil fuel use, helping clean up our planet, helping reduce pollutants. It’s a strong argument for ethanol use worldwide, and it’s a major talking point for U.S. ethanol, perhaps more so now that we have a Democratic-majority House of Representatives. Our Earth friendliness is appealing.

Some ethanol producers are taking their environmental friendliness a step further, using naturally derived, less-harsh cleaning agents in their processes. I’m a realist and I’ll concede that the lower cost, efficiency and reduced impact on fermentation (probably) play a role in those decisions, but I’m pleased to report the shift, nonetheless. Associate Editor Matt Thompson takes a look at some alternatives on the market, how they work and why plants are making the switch. The Food Safety Modernization Act has increased awareness of which chemicals can end up in dried distillers grains, so cutting back on some can help increase markets for that coproduct. Hear from suppliers with product offerings, and producers who overhauled their cleaning techniques, starting on page 18.

Vijay Singh, professor at the University of Illinois, delivered a passionate, persuasive argument in favor of fractionation at The Alcohol School in Montreal last year. He’s researched the subject most of his career and feels strongly that the ethanol industry is missing out on revenue and markets by not separating the corn kernel. With two other co-authors, Singh recently released a paper that compares eight different wet and dry fractionation techniques on technical and economic scales. It’s the most comprehensive study on the process to date and essentially provides a guide to choosing the best option for any specific plant. But fractionation is not widely used, and a technology developer declined to share any details on his process for this article. It’s too early, he says. Still, Singh and his colleagues present a strong case. Find out more on page 26.

Last, this issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine explores how partnerships have further advanced yeast strain evolution. Just as engineers can seek and extract favorable yeast strains, developers can search and partner with other developers in certain areas of expertise. It broadens the knowledge on the teams and expands capabilities. Most recently, Lallemand and NextFerm have partnered up, and are working vigorously on their new line. Details on page 34.

We’re heading into March with the same drive and passion for our industry that we’ve carried since its inception. A quick read through the columns on the next few pages of this issue will be a testament to that. The ethanol industry continues to carry its message of environmental friendliness and encouraging steps toward curbing climate change. We march on.


Author: Lisa Gibson