Solenis : Bringing Value To The Biofuels Marketplace

  • Tuesday, 24 May 2016 11:37

Solenis, a chemical specialty supplier and a vendor member of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association, brings value-added products to the biofuels industry. We recently spoke to Andrew Ledlie, biorefining marketing manager at Solenis, to learn more. Read more below.

Solenis logo

Andrew Ledlie1

Andrew Ledlie
Biorefining Marketing Manager

mbaLogo4a What type of company is Solenis?

Andrew Ledlie1 Solenis is recognized for its ability to help customers improve the quality of their manufacturing operations in the markets we serve, including biorefining. We make a difference for them based on three things. First,  our knowledge of specialty chemicals and where and when to apply them to maximize results. Second, the innovative nature of the chemicals we produce that solve real industry problems. Third, our performance-based monitoring and control systems, which control our treatment programs based on real-time performance measures as opposed to basic operating indicators. Solenis has pioneered this unique approach and is the industry leader in using it.

In short, we’re trusted advisors to our customers, providing them with trusted solutions to improve their processes and profitability and mitigate their risk by ensuring that the right specialty chemicals are applied in the right way to make their businesses more profitable.    

mbaLogo4a What are Solenis’ strengths in bringing value-adding products to the biofuels marketplace?

Andrew Ledlie1 Our strengths are two-fold. First, we have a strong portfolio of technologies and chemistries for biorefiners, including several first-in-the-industry products. These include corn oil extraction aids, evaporator scale  control products and antibiotic free fermentation aids. And there are more value-adding products on the horizon. We have products in the development pipeline which have the potential to be game changers for ethanol producers.

Second, we have a tightly-knit global biorefining team, which includes our field staff, applications specialists and experts in research and development and marketing. The fact that the team is global gives us a broad view of ethanol production. We talk weekly about what’s happening in the industry and what we need to work on to better help our customers. Because we’re a global team, we can identify best practices in one part of the world and transfer that knowledge and those solutions to benefit biorefiners in other regions.

While we have a global perspective, we also understand the importance of operating locally. So each customer has a single point person, who is responsible for addressing their specific needs.

mbaLogo4a How long does it take to develop and introduce a process chemical technology for an industry segment like biofuels?

Andrew Ledlie1 That depends on the complexity of the development work and whether there are any regulatory hurdles to clear, but it’s not uncommon for a product development process to take a year or more. Solenis has a long-  term commitment to the biofuels industry, so we have dedicated resources to constantly work on developing new products for it. We use a unique process to understand unmet gaps in an industry’s technology landscape and develop products to fill those gaps. This process drives our innovation pipeline.

mbaLogo4a What is the best way for Solenis to work with the producer members of Minnesota Biofuels to address the problems that make their manufacturing operations less efficient and more costly?

Andrew Ledlie1 We produce the best results for biorefiners who have an open and honest dialog with us about their operational issues. The more we understand about their business, the more we can help them. There are plenty of  opportunities to talk with us. Our field sales and service teams work hard to network and connect with customers every day, and Solenis is represented at virtually every major industry event in North America. In fact, in 2015 our teams traveled more than 380,000 miles in the United States alone serving the biorefining industry.  People can also connect with us on, linkedin or Twitter.

mbaLogo4a How does Solenis make the lives of its customers easier?

It starts by spending time in our customers’ plants, asking a lot of questions to better understand their needs.  When we do that really well, our products and applications expertise can be applied in the most effective and economical way to solve customers’ problems and make their lives easier. It’s that simple.

mbaLogo4a What are the emerging operational or manufacturing issues that you see confronting biofuels producers in the next three to five years?

Andrew Ledlie1 First and foremost, there is a continuing need for ethanol plants to operate at higher efficiency and effectiveness levels.  This is where a company like Solenis can help, by providing technologies and products that not  only cost less to deliver performance, but also allow plants to process a wider variety of feedstocks.

Another emerging issue will be regulatory changes. Among other things, these changes could be the result of the Food Safety Modernization Act or environmental concerns relating to ethanol plant emissions or water use.

And lastly, consolidation in the biorefining industry, with one producer buying the assets of another, will continue. This puts an emphasis on ethanol producers dealing with vendors with strong processes and consistency across their service team to ensure that best practices in one plant can be transferred to another plant.

mbaLogo4a What value does Solenis get from its associate membership in the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association?

Andrew Ledlie1 At Solenis, we see value as a two-way street. In other words, we want to provide as much value to the MBA as we get in return. We provide value by supporting an organization that is a trusted voice and advocate for  the biofuels industry in Minnesota and beyond. Some of that support is monetary, through our membership dues, as well as our participation in industry events. We can also provide value by helping MBA producer members solve some of their thorniest production problems.

In return, we value our membership in the MBA because it offers an avenue for us to reach out to current and potential customers to better understand their needs and how we might address them. MBA membership also gives us a window into the governmental and regulatory issues confronting ethanol producers in Minnesota that affect our business.  

Learn more about Solenis here