An Innovative Approach to CIP In Fuel Ethanol Plants

PhibroTCP™ (Total Cleaning Program) is a turnkey solution that utilizes deposit-prevention technologies tailored to reduce the rate and degree of foulant formation to keep plants running more efficiently between cleaning events.
By David Fowlie, Jim Ekenstedt and Kaitlyn DenHouten | May 17, 2022

PhibroTCP™ (Total Cleaning Program) is a turnkey solution that provides ethanol producers with reliable and consistent clean-in-place (CIP) performance, cost savings and improved plant operational efficiencies.

The program is fully customized to meet unique plant operational demands. It utilizes deposit-prevention technologies that reduce the rate and degree of foulant formation to keep plants running more efficiently between cleaning events. PhibroTCP then applies advanced detergent rinse aids and CIP formulations that effectively and efficiently remove deposits that negatively influence plant performance. In addition, the program uses a central PLC system to control all product dosing that takes signals from the plant DCS to facilitate automated dosing through multifunctional, accurate dosing skids.

This approach provides ethanol plants with a way to help control plant operating pressures, improve heat-transfer efficiencies and reduce the potential for bacterial infections, leading to higher production yields and improved plant efficiencies with minimal interaction from plant operators. Plants can use PhibroTCP technology as a stand-alone low-pH CIP system to fully replace using caustic CIP, or in conjunction with caustic CIP to enhance caustic performance and efficiency.

Deposit Prevention
Phibro’s deposit prevention technologies include PhibroSI™ scale inhibitor and PhibroDC™ organic deposit control formulations. These formulations reduce the rate and degree of foulant formation to keep plants running more efficiently between cleaning events. This helps create an operational environment that supports higher ethanol, corn oil and protein production yields while allowing plants to operate at higher rates efficiently. Both products are applied to the plant process flow to reduce the rate and degree of fouling that occurs between CIP events at specific unit operations.

Generally, plants add PhibroSI scale inhibitor to evaporators and oil recovery systems to control the formation of inorganic deposits, including beer stone (calcium and magnesium oxalate),  struvite, calcium and magnesium phytates. PhibroSI’s ability to reduce inorganic scale formation can lead to improved evaporator efficiencies and increased corn oil yields.

Plants typically add PhibroDC organic deposit control formulation to liquefaction, beer columns, evaporators and corn oil recovery systems to reduce the negative impact the formation of organic deposits can have on plant efficiency. Applying PhibroDC can help control pressure build up in liquefaction and evaporators, improve performance and yield of corn oil recovery operations and reduce the frequency of CIP.

CIP Cleaning
Phibro’s cleaning product formulations include PhibroClean™, a highly effective detergent cleaner, and PhibroAC™, an acid plus detergent CIP concentrate. Plants apply PhibroClean to the process condensate rinse cycle ahead of CIP to remove more deposits, more efficiently, in less time. Removing deposits during the rinse cycle makes the CIP process more efficient and extends the service life of CIP solutions. PhibroAC CIP concentrate is an acid-plus-detergent cleaner that plants can use to fully replace caustic CIP in a low-pH CIP system or in conjunction with caustic CIP programs. PhibroAC effectively removes both inorganic and organic deposits during the CIP process, while also providing bacterial control.

Automated System
Phibro’s TCP system uses a PLC-driven automated dosing and reporting system that delivers reliable, accurate and consistent application of Phibro’s range of deposit control and CIP cleaning formulations. The system also provides a way for plant management teams to track chemical usage and overall CIP costs in real time. The PLC system controls multipurpose dosing skids that are capable of dosing at different application rates to multiple plant locations automatically without the need for additional interaction or control from plant operators. This frees up operators to focus on other plant operations while providing a way to consistently and reliably apply CIP formulations.

PhibroTCP typically saves plants 20-30 percent on CIP expenditures while delivering better cleaning results that can lead to higher production of ethanol, corn oil and protein. Phibro’s many years of experience in infection control and management in the industry helps plants lower infection rates through better cleaning so plants can optimize their use of antimicrobials.

“The PhibroTCP program has allowed our customers to enhance their CIP procedures and processes to control their CIP costs while getting improved cleaning results,” explains Dave Fowlie, PhibroTCP project manager. “Our customer feedback has been extremely positive regarding the modern approach we have taken with advanced prevention and cleaning formulations and the ease of application through our integrated automation system.”

Phibro’s extensive technical support capabilities are also an integral part of the program’s success, providing advanced data analytics and hands-on troubleshooting of plant operations through borescoping and IR imaging analysis that identifies and eliminates potential sources of infection. Phibro’s Technology Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, also supports customer plant optimization by monitoring organic acid development, fermentation kinetics and analysis of plant foulants.

Jeff Zueger, CEO of Blue Flint Ethanol, who’s operation was the first to adopt PhibroTCP, confirms the positive impact the program has had on his plant’s operations. “We really benefit from the Phibro team’s high level of engagement. Our relationship with Phibro helps us do a better job of producing high-quality fuel. We’re always working together to find new ways to do that.”

PhibroTCP offers a range of options for fuel ethanol plants to optimize their CIP programs and overall plant operations through an integrated approach of advanced CIP formulations, state of the art delivery and control systems, and unparalleled customer technical support. PhibroTCP delivers lower CIP costs, improved cleaning, best in class automation, and dosing systems supported by an extensive technical support program.

“Our approach is to provide a customized CIP program that is best suited to each individual plant requirements and goals,” explains Dave Fowlie. “Phibro bases our program on operational inputs from each plant that allows us to provide an accurate assessment of its CIP requirements while offering accurate projected costs ahead of implementing PhibroTCP. Our ability to deliver an effective program that meets the cost expectations of the customer has been a key to the success and growth of PhibroTCP.”

For more information, contact:
Jenny Forbes                                  
Phibro Ethanol                               
VP Sales & Services                       
[email protected]             

Dave Fowlie
Phibro Ethanol
TCP Project Manager
 [email protected]

Dave Fowlie,
TCP Project Manager
Jim Ekenstedt,
TCP Senior Technical Service Representative
Kaitlyn DenHouten,
TCP Technical Service Representative