Ethanol Plant

Project Specs:

Project Name: Ethanol plant in the Midwest
Project Manager: John Jensen
Type of service: Well drilling and pump install
Date completed: 08-2018
 

What was the Issue?

Although the amount of water to produce a gallon of ethanol has declined, it still requires approximately 3.5 gallons. The location in the Midwest we worked at, needed over 500,000 gallons of water daily to keep up with production.

The two existing wells on-site started to decline in capacity due to poor water quality (elevated iron and manganese concentrations). This made it difficult to meet demand and required them to purchase new equipment regularly due to the water quality issues. They either needed to rehabilitate and restore the capacity at the current wells or, develop a new source to supplement their existing water supply.

 

Why Municipal Well & Pump?

Performing work at an ethanol plant requires certain safety requirements to be upheld and this project was no different. Having worked on wells for clients in the ethanol industry before, Municipal Well & Pump was well suited to handle all aspects of this job. So much so, that we were referred by another well driller due to our abilities to meet their safety requirements.
 

Trusting the process

With the two existing wells being located close to each other in the alluvial formation, they could not be rehabilitated without creating issues for each other. That is why Municipal Well & Pump suggested the exploration of a new sandstone well, which would allow the facility to gain extra capacity in a separate aquifer. The installation of a test well was recommended to help define the location for a new well.

Here are the steps we took:

  • Attempted to restore capacity at facility’s (2) existing screened, sand and gravel wells. Achieved minimal improvement at each due to water quality and proximity of the wells to each other
  • Researched existing wells in the immediate area to help determine if deeper, sandstone formation well would be a viable option for the facility.
  • Installed test well and pump.
  • Performed a 24-hour continuous test to confirm capacity and water quality from the deeper aquifer.
  • Based on the positive results of the test well program, Installed new production well and pumping equipment.

 

Results

Not only was Municipal Well & Pump able to supplement the existing water supply, the new sandstone well was able to exceed capacity expectations. In fact, the new well supplies enough water to run the entire plant. Coupled with a superior water quality, this allows the ethanol plant to save money by reducing their backwash requirements over 50% and extending the life of RO membranes which previously had to be replaced approximately every six months.