Lowering the Carbon Footprint

This is part 3 of a series. To start at part 1, click here.

In our third and final part of our Challenges of Ethanol Production series, we look at the tremendous and important steps that must be taken to reduce the carbon footprint of ethanol production. Advances in ethanol manufacturing technology are playing a significant role in this progress.

From 2005 to 2019, the production of corn ethanol more than quadrupled from 1.6 to 15 billion gallons. At the same time, a study from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory (released in 2021) found that corn ethanol’s greenhouse gas emission intensity saw a 23% reduction in carbon intensity scoring (CI) during that period.

Gallons of Corn Ethanol Produced in 2019

Up from 1.6 billion gallons in 2005


Reduction in Carbon Intensity Scoring from from 2005-2019

As a renewable fuel source, ethanol production must follow a strict process to adhere to carbon reduction goals and low CI scoring.

However, reducing greenhouse gases and meeting carbon reduction goals is no easy feat. Thankfully, technology has enabled ethanol companies to make tremendous progress in monitoring and regulating the total amount and intensity of greenhouse gas emissions.

Companies looking for ways to lower their carbon footprint will benefit greatly from the use of an MES. The system enables them to monitor the ethanol plant’s utilities KPIs in real-time – tracking the company’s usage of gas, water, steam, energy, and carbon utilization.

For example:

An MES with the right capabilities can alert the operator when steam utilization surpasses the identified limit. It can also track trends of steam utilization within a unit over a specific period and allow its performance to be compared to other units as well. Receiving real-time alerts is extremely beneficial to a utility team tasked with meeting and delivering upon their company’s carbon reduction goals; they add a level of control that gives the operators a chance to make a difference before it’s too late.

Overcoming Production Challenges for Optimal Product and Performance

Once there are strategies in place to tackle the daily challenges of ethanol production, there is no reason why a plant can’t strive for and successfully achieve optimal performance.

Every ethanol plant’s goal should be to operate the site close to or at an optimum level. Doing so drives the connected plant agenda and zero loss manufacturing throughout the plant.

Optimal performance is attainable – and with the help of technology, you can get there faster with fewer headaches.

An MES solution has numerous benefits, but at the end of the day, they all add up to one thing – enabling the entire team to achieve the company’s sustainability goals and continuous improvement initiatives that lead to carbon reduction across the enterprise.

If you are interested in an MES solution that can:

  • Provide a centralized hub for all the data collected in your ethanol plant
  • Support your efforts to overcome the daily challenges of ethanol production
  • Ultimately guide you to optimal plant performance

We encourage you to look at Orbis MES. Learn More.