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Industry Innovators: Ferm Solutions

The ethanol industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years. Because of the rapid growth, the industry is now in a transitional period where plant personnel are, in many cases, either under-trained or in need of outside technical assistance. Ferm Solutions was founded in June 2006 to meet the demand for a highly trained, highly technical support system dedicated to the ethanol industry.

With technicians skilled in fermentation technology, microbiology, biochemistry, and engineering, Ferm Solutions is the place to call when experiencing process difficulties and optimization. The company’s approach to troubleshooting is scientific and involves using the scientific method to solve problems through observations, formulating and testing hypotheses, and then drawing conclusions from the results of experimentation or investigation.

Since 2006, Ferm Solutions has built a large customer base, primarily in the United States, but also worldwide. The company is proficient in all of the different processes used for ethanol production (batch, continuous, wet mill, dry mill) and all plant designs (ICM, Delta T, Vogelbusch, Katzen, etc).

In 2007, Ferm Solutions expanded its operations to include in-house production, manufacturing, and expanded laboratories to provide the most up-to-date, timely, and state-of-the-art response to any problem that our customers might experience. In addition to in-house technical capabilities, Ferm Solutions has an extended network of academic and industrial collaborators that are called on from time to time for additional expertise and in-depth knowledge encompassing biochemical and genetic engineering, chemistry, and ultrastructure and breakdown of novel feedstocks for the purpose of fermentation, to name just a few.

Ferm Solutions markets and manufactures fermentation products including yeast, antibacterial products, and innovative processing aids to improve fermentation and overall efficiency and ethanol yields. FermGuard antibacterials including FermGuard, FermGuard Sentry, and FermGuard Xtreme have become household names for treating the most common and hard-to-control bacterial contaminants of fuel ethanol plants with an industry-leading rotational strategy.

The FermGuard product line was developed based on intensive testing of bacteria that cause problems at fuel ethanol plants, and to date we have collected over 1,000 different bacterial (and wild yeast) isolates from ethanol plants that are stored cryogenically and used to develop new antibacterial products and also to study the dynamics of these problematic microorganisms.

In addition to products to control bacterial contamination, Ferm Solutions offers a line of fuel ethanol yeasts (FermPro S and FermPro T) specifically designed for high gravity fermentations that are also tolerant to higher temperatures and ethanol levels, resulting in lower glycerol production, for example.

Apart from well-known product lines, Ferm Solutions offers a range of technical services and expertise for troubleshooting not only problems in fermentation, but also other areas of the fuel ethanol process. To offer the highest level of support and trouble shooting, it is essential to understand and be able to explain all areas of the process from grain processing, starch conversion, yeast propagation, fermentation, back-end processes, and water recycle and remediation. Having a complete understanding of the process supports the root-cause analysis, key to our approach to problem solving, as many problems arising in fermentation are actually a product of ancillary processes.

Additional technical services include different options for training, both at the plant as well as at the technical headquarters in Danville, Kentucky. Fermentation services to evaluate new feedstocks, optimization of fermentation, analytical and microbiological services, and engineering consulting relative to fuel ethanol production are also offered.

Ferm Solutions continues as an innovator in the fuel ethanol industry and is currently developing new technologies for fermentation improvements, such as making ethanol from cellulosic biomass, new yeast and enzyme technologies, and novel methods for the prevention and control of contaminating bacteria and wild yeast.

The company continues to focus within its core compentency of process improvement, especially in the area of fermentation and ancillary processes that ultimately affect fermentation. These contributions will help shape not only the future of ethanol, but also other biofuels, such as biodiesel and biobutanol.

Ferm Solutions Inc

Danville, Kentucky


Mission statement

“Ferm Solutions, is a company of hard working, talented professionals who are passionate about our industry’s and our nation’s quest for renewable fuels, our goal being to exceed customer expectations and develop industry changing technologies with a foundation in science, ethics, integrity and reliability”

Key Contacts;

Richard Jones
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Dr. Patrick Heist
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Shane Baker
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The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industry�s hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanol�s carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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