R&D Matching Grant: Development of an Ethanol Pilot Scale Facility to Evaluate the Effect of Collection, Storage, and Pretreatment of Com Stover

Grants and Contracts Details


Biochemicals and biofuels can be produced from agricultural residues by microbial fermentation after the cellulose and hemicellulose are converted to fermentable sugars. The collection, storage, pretreatment, hydrolysis, and fermentation of biomass feedstocks significantly affect the economics of the final product, such as ethanol. The Department of Energy has identified com stover as a key feedstock for production of fermentable sugars. The overall objective of this research is to increase the value of com stover as a sugar feedstock by separating the plant fractions that are most economical and efficient to collect, store, pretreat, saccharify, and ferment to value added products. Material that has been shown to be more susceptible to pretreatment (i.e. leaves, husks, and cobs) will be collected in a single pass operation. The second step involves storage of the material as silage to eliminate the need for drying. A laboratory, pilot-scale facility will be developed to aid in the evaluation of overall system performance, i.e. collecting com stover through the production to ethanol. Ensiling effects on downstream processing (pretreatment required and enzymatic hydrolysis) will be evaluated. After hydrolysis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae will be used to ferment the glucose into ethanol and will be the metric for calculating overall system performance. The resulting data will be used to evaluate the potential for ensiling com stover, performing pretreatment, and enzymatic conversion on-farm or at cooperatives. Conversion of the material to ethanol will verify that the material resulted in a higher value biomass feedstock and will be compared to field dried com stover.
Effective start/end date3/1/069/30/07


  • KY Office of Energy Policy: $46,362.00


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