PENNSAUKEN, N.J.  (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — RCM Technologies, Inc. (NasdaqGM: RCMT), a premier provider of business and technology solutions designed to enhance and maximize the operational performance of its customers through the adaptation and deployment of advanced engineering, specialty health care, and information technology services, today provided an update on its recently obtained projects to assist its clients in producing higher grades of ethanol for use in beverage and hygienic applications such as sanitizer-grade ethanol. The recent projects include both USP Grade (US Pharmacopeia) and GNS Grade (Grain Neutral Spirits).

As industry scrambles to retool and pivot to assist in the fight against Covid-19, demand for sanitizers has surged dramatically, and the area is expected to see continued growth.   According to research published by Fior Markets, the global hand sanitizer market is expected to grow from $1.2 billion in 2019 to $2.1 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 7.5% during the forecast period 2019-2027. This anticipated growth has led manufacturers to lean on professional service firms and equipment suppliers to assist them in their new strategy and enable them to deliver swift results.

Thermal Kinetics, a division of RCM Technologies (USA), Inc., has been contracted by Al-Corn Clean Fuels to expand its existing Fuel Ethanol facility to produce 20,000,000 gallons per year of USP Grade Ethanol to meet the growing need for the sanitizer market. “The Thermal Kinetics team installed the original plant and it was important for us to maintain that continuity. Additionally, Thermal Kinetics’ process design allowed us to leverage energy integration from the installed systems to the new production line,” said Thomas Harwood, COO of Al-Corn.

Thermal Kinetics is executing additional projects related to the growing demand for sanitizer-grade ethanol. Thermal Kinetics has been contracted by several other customers during the second and third quarters of 2020 to provide detailed design engineering to expand the production of sanitizer-grade ethanol to their existing client bases in the North American market. In addition to Al-Corn, the list of projects includes equipment supply to a second customer. Both equipment supply contracts are slated for commencement during the first quarter of 2021. Three other facilities have contracted Thermal Kinetics to supply a detailed upfront engineering package prior to equipment purchase. This second group of plants should be operational in the third and fourth quarter of 2021 with Thermal Kinetics anticipating that it will provide the main equipment and engineering support.

“The demand for higher grade ethanol has outgrown product availability due to the current Covid-19 pandemic,” stated Chris Brown, Founder and President of Thermal Kinetics. “Traditional corn-based ethanol plants require a range of $5 – $10 million in additional equipment to convert fuel-grade ethanol to USP- or GNS-grade ethanol suitable for sanitizers. Thermal Kinetics is well suited for these projects. Our standard ethanol process offers the best steam economy available. We have used similar design engineering principles to ensure the USP- and GNS-grade upgrades offer the most efficient design with respect to energy usage and plant economics. Of particular importance is technology to recover 80% of the energy required from the base fuel ethanol plant. This assures that existing plant infrastructure such as boiler and cooling capacity remain unaffected.”

RCM completed the acquisition of Thermal Kinetics in November 2018. “The addition of Thermal Kinetics to RCM Technologies has broadened our reach. The Thermal Kinetics engineering group offers value-add solutions that are best in class and adds the equipment supply element to the scope of our projects which we previously did not have,” explains RCM Engineering Services President Frank Petraglia. “It is exciting to witness the current growth and potential of the Thermal Kinetics Projects Group.”

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