Spring Swing

FROM THE APRIL ISSUE: Editor in Chief Tom Bryan previews the features this month. Among other topics, our stories profile a new yeast on the market, explore asset management techniques and discuss cleaning services.
By Tom Bryan | March 22, 2018

Each April, Ethanol Producer Magazine focuses on the errands of spring and the busywork our industry makes of preparing for its summer stretch. With the Corn Belt shedding winter’s last blows — like that early March blizzard — we are called to tasks that need doing, now, before the sun shines hot. For many producers, April is a time of planned maintenance: cleaning, inspecting and repairing. For some, it’s a time to break ground on new projects, roll out operational changes and test new products.  

Here at EPM, early spring-to-late summer is our busy season. With our latest plant map on the press and the preliminary agenda for the 2018 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo complete, our second-quarter push is underway with this issue’s focus on cleaning, maintenance and asset management. First, however, we profile a leading global enzyme supplier’s leap into genetically-modified yeast production. As we report in “New Expectations,” on page 14, these new yeasts are increasingly efficient, stress tolerant and versatile.   

Our focus on maintenance begins with “Integrity Initiative,” on page 22, which introduces readers to the practice of asset integrity management. The story explains how producers are using technology and data, from ultrasonic monitoring to multi-plant benchmarking, to predict and plan for the effective lifespan of ethanol plant equipment.

Then, in “Biting the Bullet on Major Replacements,” on page 28, we dive deeper into asset management with a look at how America’s maturing fleet of ethanol plants — many of them a decade or more in age— will be increasingly prone to major equipment failures if proactive testing, protection and life-extension measures aren’t taken. The story identifies specific equipment and critical systems that are proving susceptible to failure under the scrutiny of 10-year inspections.

Finally, we examine bin maintenance in “Cleanliness is Quality,” on page 34. The story explains how and why outsourced bin cleaning, coupled with efficient material removal technologies and good maintenance, is an indisputable best practice in ethanol plant safety, efficiency and quality control.

Author: Tom Bryan
President & Editor in Chief