Pioneering Innovation: An Integrated Approach to the Biofuels Market. Interview with Todd Emslander, Ethanol Process Team member for U.S. Water.
Q: Please tell us a bit about U.S. Water.
A. U.S. Water was founded in the late 90s with one mission – to help customers find safe, economical, and environmentally sound solutions. Water and process management is not a "one size fits all" solution - it’s about finding the optimal solution for the facility. Issues vary depending on the plant, and U.S. Water believes your program should be as tailored to address the unique challenges your facility faces. We're experts in chemical, equipment, engineering and service so we understand mechanical, operational and chemical aspects of your water and process system, how one affects the other, and how to utilize each component to find the best solution for you. It’s this idea that has led us to become one of the fastest growing privately-held water treatment companies in the United States.
Q: Please tell us about your company’s history with the ethanol industry
A. In 2004, U.S Water developed an Ethanol Process Technologies team to bring continuous improvement to the biofuels industry through new technology. Our Ethanol Process Technologies team has been instrumental in developing customer solutions that address a variety of concerns including safety, variability control, risk / exposure mitigation, brand assurance, capital equipment integrity, yield, profitability, final ethanol quality and compliance.
In an industry where understanding the dynamics of operation and the balance of consequences impact your bottom line, we are a leader in providing start-up and ongoing services to over half of the biofuel industry. Part of the reason U.S. Water has seen so much success in the ethanol sector is our ability to find each customer a personalized solution by combining chemical, equipment, engineering and service into a seamless program that provides measurable immediate and long term return on investment. Our ability to understand and provide all of these faucets of their water and process applications means that we become solution neutral - we’re there as a partner to the facility.
Q: What does your company see for the future of ethanol and biofuels?
A. For U.S. Water it's really about looking at the system from beginning to end and eliminating the bottlenecks that affect quality, production and efficiency at their source rather than just treating the symptoms. Once we've eliminated the congestion and prevent it from happening further, it becomes a situation where the plant can focus on producing the best quality products and realizing maximum profitability.
Q: From your perspective, what would you like consumers to know about the ethanol industry?
A. Meeting compliance, especially for water discharge, has become difficult for many plants when faced with the growing restrictions being placed on discharge limitations around the nation. But with new technology and solutions, we have found ways to reduce water usage in producing ethanol. There are many opportunities for water conservation including recycle and reuse, reclamation and even zero liquid discharge (ZLD). For Bushmills Ethanol in Atwater, MN, ZLD was the best solution when provided with all the options by U.S. Water's Christian Hess. The system is expected to reduce the plant's overall water use by one-third. Over a dozen ZLD systems across the United States have been installed by U.S. Water in an effort to help plants remain in compliance while reducing water use on average from four gallons of water per gallon of ethanol down to two gallons of water per gallon of ethanol.