Member Spotlight : Phibro Ethanol Performance Group

EPG Logo with Registered Mark 2

This month, we spotlight Phibro Ethanol Performance Group. We spoke with Steve Rust, Director of Industry Relations, about the company's history and involvement in the ethanol industry. 

Steve Rust cropped

Steve Rust, Director of Industry Relations, Phibro Ethanol Performance Group

mbaLogo4a Please tell us about Phibro Ethanol Performance Group.Phibro Lab-1 small

Steve Rust croppedPhibro Ethanol Performance Group (EPG) provides a dedicated team of committed professionals to help ethanol plants improve production efficiencies. Our initial product was Lactrol®, a high quality antimicrobial that helps enhance fermentations, which has been available to the industry since 1995. Today, the Phibro EPG line of products has grown to include a full line of antimicrobials, cleaning products, process aids and yeast. Phibro EPG products are backed by a team of committed professionals who view their role as a trusted consultant to provide the highest quality products with maximum performance. Our Phibro EPG team averages over a decade of experience in ethanol production and is actively involved in providing ongoing training to assist the operating staffs of our customers and the industry in understanding the nuances of ethanol production. Phibro EPG’s commitment to ethanol includes our state-of-the-art lab facility located in St. Paul, which our Phibro EPG team can utilize to provide effective diagnostic support. Phibro EPG was formed in 2006 as a division of Phibro Animal Health Corporation.

 mbaLogo4aPlease tell us about Phibro Ethanol Performance Group’s role within the ethanol industry in Minnesota and why the company is committed to supporting the ethanol industry now and in the future.

Steve Rust croppedOn a daily basis, Phibro’s EPG team helps support many of the ethanol plants in Minnesota by providing technical expertise to help maximize plant yield and establish a clean running plant. The ethanol industry has been one of the best sources of economic stimulus for rural America and we want to provide financial and technical support to help tell the great story of ethanol. Phibro EPG is an active member in ACE, Growth Energy, RFA, The Distillers’ Grain Technology Council and Urban Air Initiative along with other state organizations like Minnesota Bio-Fuels. Phibro Animal Health Corporation is also a consumer of the distiller’s grain animal feed which is co-produced by ethanol plants.

All Ferms 2 small

Phibro Ethanol Performance Group's Ethanol Performance Diagnostic Center in St Paul

mbaLogo4a From your perspective, what would you like consumers to know about the ethanol industry and the fuel it produces?

Steve Rust croppedThe ethanol industry is committed to providing a renewable, environmentally friendly fuel that can help eliminate our need for foreign oil. The production of ethanol from corn is a true value-added process that produces the co-products of distillers’ grains and distillers’ corn oil while providing a renewable transportation fuel. As an example, ethanol has been shown to perform flawlessly in both the Indy Racing League and NASCAR under much more severe conditions than regular driving. The benefit is that both venues have seen higher performance and cleaner air at the track.

mbaLogo4a What do you see as the ethanol industry’s biggest challenge?

Steve Rust croppedThe biggest challenge is educating consumers and politicians that ethanol at blends higher than E-10 (the current level used in almost all gasoline) are not destructive. Minnesota, with its large usage of boats, motorcycles and other outdoor equipment, is the perfect example of a state that has not seen any repercussions from the implementation of E-10 usage. Higher blends (greater than E-10) can provide benefits such as cost savings and a more environmentally friendly fuel without the inclusion of aromatics. These higher blends need to have market access for better consumer awareness. We are pleased to see groups like Minnoco making higher blends available for consumer choice.

mbaLogo4a What does your company see for the future of ethanol and advanced biofuels?

Steve Rust croppedThe Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in the United States has been targeted to increase to 54.5 mpg by 2025. This goal will only be met by having smaller, higher compression engines, which will require more octane. We see ethanol as having a very bright future. Ethanol is currently the most economical oxygenate in the market place. In addition, supplemental gallons created from cellulosic materials will give us the capability to grow ethanol inclusion to higher levels, and higher inclusion of ethanol will provide fuel that is renewable and cleaner as well as decrease the need for foreign oil.