Collective Chaos

Editor Lisa Gibson previews the features and contributions in the March issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine, which includes stories on the shifted maintenance patterns of the pandemic, caustic alternative considerations, CIP technology and more.
By Lisa Gibson | February 17, 2021

As I put together this magazine, focused on maintenance and cleaning, I sit in my home office—a “temporary workspace” since March—with an acute awareness of the mini disaster around me. I’m a few days overdue for my regular weekend cleaning, and, thanks to the two cats and one dog sharing this house with me, it shows.

I feel safe assuming I’m not the only one whose home and life schedules have been thrown off during the pandemic. And ethanol producers who shook up their planned shutdown schedules in 2020 aren’t alone either. It’s a collective chaos.

Our first feature, “Shifting Shutdowns,” starting on page 12, explores the impact the pandemic had on shutdown maintenance in 2020, and which trends might continue. Plants traded spring and fall shutdowns for summer and winter, or even just summer. It spread out the busy season for contractors and shutdown service providers, and might have prompted producers to evaluate the potential of permanently cutting the number of annual shutdowns to one. With a little extra maintenance on crucial equipment like evaps, it might be an option for some plants. The feature explores some interesting opportunities.

Also in this magazine, you’ll find coverage of caustic soda replacements—what’s new and what benefits these innovations bring. But you’ll also hear a word of caution from an animal feed expert about the downstream impacts of new additives. Product developers assure that their offerings have no adverse effect on feed, but, nonetheless, producers should be in close contact with their feed customers, says Jerry Shurson, an animal science professor at  the University of Minnesota. If you know Jerry, you know he often laments the disconnect between ethanol producers and their feed customers. I think he has a good point. Find out more on page 20.

We also have two guest contributions, discussing the overall performance boost that accompanies proper CIP strategies, and an up-and-coming landfill gas-to-ethanol technology. This is an issue packed with informative content.

And with this Editor’s Note ready for layout, my next task is to clean my house.
Stay safe and be well.

Author: Lisa Gibson