U.S. Water pHytOUT® Successfully Controls Mineral Deposits

Ethanol plants are often challenged with mineral deposits and the loss of heat transfer efficiency in distillation that accompanies these deposits. pHytOUT is a patented deposit control technology from U.S. Water that can enable plants to eliminate specific deposit control such as sulfuric acid usage, caustic usage, temperature loss and increased steam usage to deposit-related heat transfer loss.

Introduction and Identification of Opportunities
A 100 MMGPY ICM designed ethanol plant in the Midwest had been using an average of 522 lbs of sulfuric acid per day to keep the evaporator system running at optimal conditions. The evaporator system was becoming less efficient due to mineral deposit scale. Sulfuric acid was not used for pH control in either the front-end or back-end of this facility. Sulfuric acid was used twice daily to maintain steam usage. The high usage rate of sulfuric acid was driving input costs higher and was leaving residual sulfur in the co-product.

pHytOUT – U.S. Water’s deposit control technology was trialed in the plant to determine its ability to control mineral deposit scaling and help reduce the amount of sulfuric acid that was being used on a daily basis.

After determining an optimal dosage rate, the acid to evaporation was reduced in a step-wise fashion – and then eliminated completely. The application of this deposit control technology also helped the plant reduce the amount of steam that was used in the evaporation system by 5300 lbs/hr. This plant was able to see added benefits in beer feed temperature control. Prior to the introduction of pHytOUT – the plant typically switched and cleaned the mash trains every 6-8 hours. Upon the start of the trial – the plant was able to reduce the CIP routine to every 16 hours. The average beer feed temperature before the use of pHytOUT was 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The beer feed temperature now averages 146 degrees Fahrenheit – a significant improvement in heat transfer efficiency.

Solution Identification & Implementation
U.S. Water’s patented deposit control technology was able to help this plant reduce the amount of mineral deposits that were causing fouling issues in the evaporator system and beer mash exchanger, thus eliminating sulfuric acid as a mineral deposit control aid.

Results & Conclusions
Upon completion of the trial, this plant has continued to use pHytOUT and has experienced continued success in controlling mineral deposit scaling in both the evaporator system and in the beer mash exchangers. The sulfuric acid usage remains very low and is typically only used to control organic fouling in the evaporator system. This plant has seen a positive net ROI of 1.5:1.

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