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Volume 6, Issue 3
Published: April 5, 2012
Cleaning up

Ethanol production in 2011 neared 14 billion gallons, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). This is an increase of 717 million gallons compared to 2010’s production figures. With this set to rise by a further 1.25 billion gallons in 2012, to 15.2 billion gallons, there is no let up for ethanol producers and its plant maintenance issues.

Biofuel plants need to be cleaned to prevent the build up of scale and fouling. Such fouling can occur in pipes, fermentation tanks, evaporators and distillation columns. If this process equipment is not regularly maintained, a soil will accumulate on the surfaces causing a variety of problems, all of which will eventually lead to the plant being shutdown.

Although necessary, plant cleaning can prove costly and time consuming. As the ethanol industry continues to boom, it is becoming increasingly important for manufacturers to find new and better ways of decreasing plant downtime and increasing profitability. Naturally, the longer the plant is out of action for cleaning or maintenance purposes, the less revenue generated.

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