Wisconsin ethanol plant converts to USP alcohol production
A Wisconsin ethanol producer is shifting its focus away from producing fuel.
Riley Didion of Didion Ethanol and Didion Milling in Cambria, Wisconsin says, “Rough estimates, I’m guessing it’s probably going to be about 85% to 90% of that production will, from our plant’s capacity, will go into USP-grade alcohol and the remaining will go into a fuel.”
Didion tells Brownfield the decision to convert the ethanol plant to industrial alcohol came before COVID-19 hit, and before demand for hand sanitizer skyrocketed. “The ethanol market was really difficult and so, especially for us and for producers, and say, ‘So what else can we do?’ and so that’s when we really started to really focus on some of the co-products and bi-products that we make.”
Didion tells Brownfield he is optimistic the conversion will lead to more corn usage in the long run. “I think that we’ll probably continue to see h higher corn usage because I think that there are some other things that we think that we can do in adding capacity. I really probably see that as like a phase-two, though.”
Didion says they are already making alcohol under the federal government’s relaxed guidelines to help meet the immediate demand for hand sanitizer, but expects the plant will be producing their USP grade product after some construction and plant modifications are finished in late September or early October.