Labs Leverage Benchmarking, Data

Tom Bryan, president and editor in chief of Ethanol Producer Magazine, writes about the stories featured in the January issue of the magazine, which has a lab management theme.
By Tom Bryan | December 18, 2014

The high-performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC), the spendy countertop machine at the heart of every ethanol plant’s quality assurance/quality control process is just one of many high-tech gadgets in the toolkits of lab personnel. In this month’s cover feature, “Benchmarking the Ethanol Plant Lab,” however, we learn that HPLC and other analytical equipment like gas chromatographs, pH meters, moisture analyzers and hydrometers are only as accurate as their calibration, stability and method of use allows them to be. This story, written by EPM Senior Editor Susanne Retka Schill, gives us insight into how lab managers check their equipment, and their practices, through test result comparisons and other validation techniques.

Our lab theme continues in “Putting Data to Work,” as we learn how data analysis software helps ethanol plant labs harness information that may otherwise be lost or ineffectively stored. Whether a lab manager is calculating average fermentation rates, optimizing enzyme dosage or troubleshooting a production slowdown, lab data software can really help. The cool part, reports EPM Managing Editor Holly Jessen, is the helpful visuals the software quickly generates.   

Also this month, we’re excited to bring you the first of five ethanol state spotlights that will be sprinkled into Ethanol Producer Magazine throughout the year. We begin with Iowa, the nation’s No. 1 ethanol and distillers grains producing state. 

Tom Bryan
President & Editor in Chief