Commonwealth Agri-Energy Producing High Purity Alcohol

Cindy Zimmerman

Kentucky-based Commonwealth Agri-Energy (CAE) is increasing production of high-purity alcohol that meets and exceeds U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP)-Grade.

General Manager Mick Henderson says CAE undertook a major expansion in 2018 to increase fuel ethanol production to 45 million gallons per year which allowed them to quickly transition a portion of production to higher purity. “When the pandemic came to our door, we quickly realized our plant could be a bio-based sustainable solution for meeting increased sanitization demand. We have been meeting this demand since March 2020 and have been committed ever since to improving our quality,” Henderson said.

While many ethanol producers have ramped up or announced plans to bring new USP-grade production to the market, Henderson said that CAE has focused on markets beyond hand sanitizer, “It’s our ambition to further improve our 190 proof PURE quality to best in class Grain Neutral Spirits (GNS) in the coming months, increase that capacity from 5 to 10 million gallons per year, and do it energy efficiently. This commitment will allow us to diversify into the beverage market in which we are logistically advantaged to be cost competitive. In addition, we are focused on improving our 200-proof product that today meets Food Chemicals Codex (FCC)-Grade and will allow us to meet demand that requires 100% alcohol content.”

CAE has worked alongside their ethanol marketer, Eco-Energy, to sell their high purity alcohol into the market. “Producing a USP-grade product isn’t possible by most producers without a significant investment and long lead time. To witness them reach 5 million gallons per year of USP-grade production by August 2020 was impressive but not surprising knowing the company’s makeup over the last twelve years we have worked together,” said Ryan Strickland, Director of Alliance Marketing at Eco-Energy. “Eco-Energy is excited about the opportunity to grow CAE’s business for these high purity alcohol products. CAE is uniquely located to serve regional demand and we hope this is just the beginning for their evolving business with us,” said Eco-Energy CEO Craig Willis.

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