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  • Writer's pictureRotary Airlock

. . .Especially Ethanol.

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

The Basics

Before delving into the intricacies of ethanol use, it's important to understand what it is and how it is developed. In its most basic form, ethanol is derived from plant materials, such as corn and sugar. Previously, oil companies would mix a small amount of ethanol into their fuel blends, in a mixture that was referred to as gasohol. Since this mixture can run effectively in any engine, it helped to reduce the environmental impact of the fuel, while also avoiding any major sacrifice in quality. 

With recent advances though, an even better mixture has been developed. At 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, E85 has effectively reversed the properties of gasohol. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy has even gone so far as to praise E85 for its ability to significantly reduce carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions. And, with gasoline supplies slowly diminishing, there has been an even greater push for ethanol mixtures that push the boundaries of how much gasoline is actually required. 

The Conversion Process

In order for plant materials to transform into ethanol, it must undergo a specific process. Ethanol is not naturally occurring in the environment, which means plants need to be fermented and distilled in order to create it. Of course, ethanol has been a component of human society for a very long time, as it can even be found in alcoholic beverages. 

As previously mentioned, the key to rapidly developing ethanol is to use crops that are high in sugar. Once crops have been gathered to be processed, they are ground up and refined. The refined sugar that is gathered is then left to ferment into carbon dioxide and ethanol, with yeast added to speed up the process. Up until this point, it is basically the same process used to create alcoholic beverages. After the ethanol has been gathered, it is then distilled and purified before it is ready to be used as a bio-fuel.


The relative simplicity of the development process helps to make ethanol production considerably cheaper than many other fuel sources. Since ethanol is a cleaner fuel source, it doesn't add harmful particulates to the air when it's burned. Instead, burning ethanol just creates water and a smaller amount of carbon dioxide than other fuel sources.

Expanding Production

More than 90 production plants have already been established for ethanol, with at least another thirty planned, as well as several expansions and government regulations in certain states have also made a greater push for ethanol to replace traditional fuel sources. Since ethanol can potentially be just as effective as gasoline, it's not a matter of if it will replace gasoline fully, but rather when.


With all of the information above covered it is safe to say a few points. One, that the process of ethanol production is not simply a system that can be stopped or paused, as there are chemical reactions taking place. Two, that Ethanol production facilities are in need of specific machinery and production materials that were created with them and their processes in mind and three, the Ethanol Production industry is only going to grow which means more production and more competition in the marketplace.

If we look at these distinct points its not hard to see why Ethanol plants are experiencing excruciating amounts of frustration with valves not intended for their application. Theses valves were designed and engineered to fit within systems but haven't been engineered to prevail within the Ethanol application. These original valves are not intended for what these facilities are producing, their chemical properties, or the people who work there to provide for themselves and their families. Some of these valves are so corroded so quickly they aren't even a valve anymore, but a chute complete with immense pitting and irreparable fissures and breaks.

How is a production facility to keep up with the demand if their valves keep failing; shutting down production lines and even come with the expense of ruined product that was stopped part way thru it's process. How are they suppose to compete in a significantly rapid growing industry? Rotary Airlock provides a Master Class option not seen anywhere else.

So clients working with them already have a hand on the crown in the growing ethanol industry, but what ethanol facility of the 90 is falling short? Which one's will we see be swallowed up by those who took actions today, instead of hoping for tomorrow? Only time will tell.

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