Ethanol producers not only need quality products and equipment to optimize their plant’s performance—they also need a well-trained workforce armed with the latest industry knowledge.


That’s where Novozymes’ Bioenergy University comes in. To all of our current users, thank you for your support! Since launching the training tool one year ago, more than 90 ethanol plants have enrolled in Bioenergy University with more than 500 active students. To stay focused on plant training needs and how we can better meet them, Novozymes met with some super-users of Bioenergy University in a focus group at the 2016 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Conference.


So, what did we learn? To start, we heard that fermentation troubleshooting and data analysis are both hot topics for training. And, this could be related to the types of roles that customers said are most in need of training: cook operators, lab technicians and other miscellaneous plant roles.


Not coincidentally, these are also the primary roles where customers told us there is the greatest amount of turnover. In fact, half of our respondents said that Cook Operator was the position with the highest turnover, with Shift Lead coming in at a distant second place at 17%.


Bioenergy University: a flexible training service

Selecting what to learn, and when, is a big plus for Bioenergy University users. Some choose specific learning tracks, while others like to use individual modules for onboarding of new employees.


Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed said that fermentation was the area of their plant most likely to be in need of troubleshooting—and 54% said that interactive troubleshooting could help improve operations in this regard.


The Bioenergy University online platform offers webinars, course modules and videos about many aspects of ethanol production, such as enzyme functionality, laboratory practices, and, yes, process troubleshooting. Meanwhile, in-person training sessions are available throughout the year and in various locations throughout the U.S.


But key to the success of this platform has been the level of customization. There are, generally speaking, more than 10 distinct roles in the average ethanol production facility. To ensure that those in various roles can benefit from the training platform, we have split the learning tracks along three generalized levels: Beginner, Advanced and Expert.


So if you’re interested in learning why ethanol producers throughout North America see Bioenergy University as a flexible and impactful training tool for their plants that ties in with on-site operator training, talk to your Novozymes Technical Service representative today.

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Rachel Burton

Rachel leads our Biofuel Plant Support team training efforts in Technical Service. She is a longtime user of renewable energy, a diesel engine nerd, and a biofuels advocate.