ISU scientist researches ways to squeeze two fuels from one kernel of corn

Jan 17, 2008

Getting ethanol from a corn kernel has changed the way the country looks at a corn field. Now, that view might change again.

Iowa State University researcher Tong Wang is researching new ways to maximize the amount of oil that can be recovered after a corn kernel is used for ethanol fermentation.

"Potentially, a large volume of oil can be extracted from the co-products of fermentation to make biodiesel," said Wang about the possibilities of the research. "Oil that we're missing now."

The added oil for biodiesel is in addition to the ethanol that can be produced from the corn.

In most current ethanol processes, about half of the oil in corn is partitioned in the fermentation liquid -- stillage -- and the other half becomes part of the solid. After the liquid dries to a syrup, it is combined with the solid. That co-product becomes distiller's dry grain with solubles (DDGS) -- and is often used as livestock feed.

Wang says that getting that oil out of the liquid stillage before it becomes part of the dry grain co-product would be great for both biodiesel production and the DDGS. The advantage of removing that oil from DDGS is that high oil content in feed is bad for dairy cattle and, when fed to swine, it produces a softer fatty tissue that is undesirable, says Wang.

Wang is experimenting with ways to change the beginning of the ethanol-making process in order to get more oil partitioned in the liquid so the oil can be easily removed.

"We hope to get more oil from the corn," said Wang.

Wang says there hasn't been any published research on this process.

Wang is working with FEC Solutions of Des Moines on the research.

"We have high hopes for this project and hope to have technology come from the research that we can commercialize quickly," said Joe Riley of FEC Solutions. "Ethanol plant margins are being squeezed and hopefully the research Tong is doing will lead to us creating higher values for ethanol co-products. This will in turn be a win for the ethanol, biodiesel and livestock producers concentrated in Iowa and the Midwest."

FEC Solutions is a new energy company that works with agricultural products and fuels.

Wang's research is made possible by a Grow Iowa Values Fund grant to create high quality jobs through business development and expansion.

Source: Iowa State University

Explore further: Drive system saves space and weight in electric cars

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Turning humble seaweed into biofuel

Oct 16, 2014

The sea has long been a source of Norway's riches, whether from cod, farmed salmon or oil. Now one researcher from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) researcher hopes to add seaweed ...

Bugs may be resistant to genetically modified corn

Dec 29, 2011

(AP) -- One of the nation's most widely planted crops - a genetically engineered corn plant that makes its own insecticide - may be losing its effectiveness because a major pest appears to be developing resistance ...

Harvesting the power of big data in agriculture

Jun 12, 2014

Connecting with old friends? There's an app for that. Logging your fitness goals? There's an app for that. Making your farm more sustainable? There, too, is an app for that. In our technology-driven world, farmers, scientists ...

Recommended for you

Drive system saves space and weight in electric cars

Oct 17, 2014

Siemens has developed a solution for integrating an electric car's motor and inverter in a single housing. Until now, the motor and the inverter, which converts the battery's direct current into alternating ...

Dispelling a misconception about Mg-ion batteries

Oct 16, 2014

Lithium (Li)-ion batteries serve us well, powering our laptops, tablets, cell phones and a host of other gadgets and devices. However, for future automotive applications, we will need rechargeable batteries ...

Turning humble seaweed into biofuel

Oct 16, 2014

The sea has long been a source of Norway's riches, whether from cod, farmed salmon or oil. Now one researcher from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) researcher hopes to add seaweed ...

Air Umbrella R&D evolves as shield from pelting rain

Oct 15, 2014

A Chinese R&D team have invented an Air Umbrella which can blast water away from the umbrella's owner. They explain how their invention deflects rain: "Air is everywhere on the earth. The flowing air can ...

User comments : 0