Optimized Heat Management System Reduces Costs at Ethanol Production Facility
Key Challenges

Bridgeport Ethanol is a green-field 40-million gallons/year ethanol production facility in Nebraska. Their heat-tracing application needed to be modified to include pipe freeze protection for water lines, tank heating and process temperature maintenance of syrup, silage and caustic lines. They brought in Pentair Thermal Management’ Tracer Turnkey Solutions team in May 2008 for the project.


The Tracer Turnkey Solutions team completely engineered, procured and installed the necessary heat management systems (HMS) at Bridgeport Ethanol. The team leveraged a complex and diverse range of Raychem control and monitoring solutions to reduce the number of necessary circuits to 35. And in doing so, the team was able to reduce the total cost of the heat management system at Bridgeport Ethanol.


Products used included the Raychem 200NG with proportional ambient sensing control (PASC) for the pipe freeze protection and broad temperature maintenance applications. In PASC, the power to the heat tracing is proportioned based upon on the ambient temperature.

The Tracer Turnkey Solutions team also selected a combination of the Raychem 920 and HTPG local control system to control and monitor remote circuits for tank heating as well as pipe freeze protection of the water lines. These areas were respectively 800 feet and 450 feet away from the centralized control panels and would have required 2/0 power wires due to the voltage drop.

Additionally, the team chose the Raychem 200NI with line sensing control for the critical temperature maintenance applications. To reduce the RTD wiring costs, we used the Raychem power line interface technology (PLI) and Smart End Seals (SES) to transmit temperature and continuity data over the heating cable conductors.


The project was successfully completed in November 2008. With the use of PASC algorithm, the Tracer Turnkey Solutions team was able to reduce Bridgeport Ethanol’s operating costs by 75 percent from that of the standard ambient sensing controller. The conduit and wiring costs were also greatly reduced by using a local control system, and the use of Raychem power line interface (PLI) technology eliminated the estimated $40,000 of RTD wiring costs.