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Donaldson Helps Ethanol Facility Run More Efficiently

Industry: Ethanol

Problem: The ethanol processing facility was experiencing noticeably lower airflow and shorter filter life within their dust collection system.

Solution: Donaldson developed and installed custom designed Hydrophobic/Oleophobic pleated filter bags.


Unplanned facility maintenance can bring production facilities to a screeching halt, and that was exactly the predicament facing a large Midwestern ethanol producer when their dust collection system began to underperform.

The ethanol processing facility was experiencing noticeably lower airflow and shorter filter life within their dust collection system due to high pressure drop. The issue was traced to their conventional felt filter bags which were plugging due to the higher moisture levels that accompanied the facility’s dried distillers grain (DDG) application.

While the existing filtration equipment provider’s dust collection system delivered the required level of filtration efficiency, the prospect of stopping production multiple times per year for maintenance prompted management at the facility to examine their options and longer-term solutions.


Facility management contacted Donaldson and was quickly connected with a pleated filter bag expert within its Torit® industrial air filtration division. Leveraging years of on-the-ground experience developing tailored solutions for a broad range of industries, Donaldson’s filtration experts were able review the situation and address both the airflow and filter life issues in short order.

The solution was the development and installation of custom designed Hydrophobic/Oleophobic pleated filter bags. The technically-engineered filter media is far more effective than traditional felt filter bags because it allows for moisture in the airstream to release from the filter media rather than remain and contribute to plugging. This enhanced dust cake release characteristic allows for a reduction in the pressure drop across the filters.

The custom-designed filters included three times the amount of filter media compared to the conventional filter bags historically utilized on the legacy system. This increase in filter media allowed the facility to reduce the number of filter bags in the system by nearly 20 percent and, because the Donaldson pleated filter bags were markedly shorter in length than the conventional filter bags, the facility benefitted from a larger dropout area for the dust to be captured.


Shortly after the installation of the Hydrophobic/Oleophobic pleated filter bags, the customer experienced a much-needed increase in airflow within the system. Pressure drop decreased measurably from 6-7 inches of water column to just 1.5-2.5 inches of water column. In addition, the filter’s one-piece design made installation easier and faster than the previous conventional filter bag and cage arrangement helping the customer reduce costly maintenance time.​

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