Ethanol Science
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Air Emissions

Ethanol can be made by a dry mill process or a wet mill process. All of the new fuel ethanol plants in the U.S. use the dry mill method. Ethanol plants being built today with a distillers grain dryer also incorporate a Thermal Oxidizer (TO) to meet environmental regulations as well as to eliminate odors that sometimes created community opposition to ethanol plants. In the past, the largest source of emissions from an ethanol plant came from the distillers grain dryer. Today, use of a TO eliminates the dryer emissions and associated odors. Ethanol plants that do not dry the distillers grain do not have dryer emissions and do not require a TO.

Ethanol plant TO's and boilers use Ultra-Low NOx burners that reduce nitrous oxides emissions, eliminate 92%+ of particulate matter and 95%+ of the volatile organic compounds. They also virtually eliminate odors from the distillers grain dryers.

Thermal oxidizers have been around for a number of years and are used in the food and chemical industries to eliminate odors such as burnt coffee smells from large roasters and chemical vapors.


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