Dryer manufacturers have helped pave ethanol industry's success

By | October 01, 2002
More than ever before, distillers dried grains dryers have become not only a vital asset to ethanol producers but a key element in the ensured profitability of dry-mill ethanol production. Today, because many ethanol producers rely on DDGS sales for as much as 20 percent of their total annual revenue, drying technology has become a serious, science-driven technology.

Three companies lead the ethanol industry dryer business today: ICM, Inc., Ronning Engineering Company and Barr-Rozin. Here is a brief synopsis of each technology:

As a result of efficient design and innovative hot gas recovery systems, ICM's distillers grains dryers have, over time, proven to be energy efficient.

"ICM's rotary drum dryers produce the "golden dried" DDGS that has become the product of choice among marketers today and is revolutionizing DDGS marketing worldwide," said ICM Engineering Manager John Caffrey. "The company's dependable and robust dryer designs help to lower operating and maintenance costs, greatly increasing up' time from other previous drying technologies.

The company says that its dryers produce the best "golden dried" DDGS color and all around feed quality for corn or milo and come with a one year parts and labor warranty. ICM also offers custom solutions to fit the specific needs of an ethanol facility, such as existing dryer component repair or modifications, total dryer system replacement, total plant and dryer system expansions, and total plant design.

Today, ICM is installing many of its new dryers as "systems" - packages with dual rotary drum dryers including all associated equipment and conveying systems, access platforms, structures, piping, ducting, and even exhaust stacks. Again, unique to the industry, ICM designs and fabricates these components within their own property, which they believe maximizes quality control of the products manufactured. ICM also provides the optional thermal oxidizer system that provides very impressive reductions in odor and emissions, while producing enough steam to meet the steam requirements of the plant.

Ronning Engineering

Ronning's patented rotary drum dryer is a single-pass system that operates at relatively low temperatures, thereby reducing operating costs and decreasing the emissions of VOCs, which are closely regulated. The lower temperature also allows the system to have a longer product retention time, which improves quality control of the process and reduces damage of the valuable protein and fat content of the products. The greater product retention time also allows the REC system to increase the amount of heat transfer media (typically hot air) used per cubic volume of dryer. This, the company says, results in a physically smaller plant versus competing technologies for a given process.

The rotary drum dryer is augmented by other products that are also proprietary to Ronning. These include centrifugal separators, cyclones, cooling and conditioning drums and other components that provide a "complete dehydration solution."

Like ICM, Ronning also is offering a thermal oxidizer/waste heat boiler in its drying system package.

Although Barr-Rozin manufactures several types of dryers, the company has recently introduced its ring dryers to the ethanol industry, of which one major dry-mill ethanol plant builder is using is incorporating into its new plants.

The Barr-Rozin ring dryer reportedly creates smaller, more uniform DDGS particles that have an "appealing consistency." The ring dryer is electrical powered and has few moving parts, therefore making it long-lasting, the company says. The manufacturing and installation costs are similar to rotary drum dryers.