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: Indonesia passes law to tap volcano power

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ahead of Emmys, Netflix already winning online

4 hours ago

Even if it doesn't take home any of the major trophies at Monday's Emmy Awards, Netflix will have already proven itself the top winner in one regard: Internet programming.

US warns shops to watch for customer data hacking

4 hours ago

The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned businesses to watch for hackers targeting customer data with malicious computer code like that used against retail giant Target.

SpaceX rocket explodes during test flight

4 hours ago

A SpaceX rocket exploded in midair during a test flight, though no one was injured, as the company seeks to develop a spacecraft that can return to Earth and be used again.

Official says hackers hit up to 25,000 US workers

4 hours ago

The internal records of as many as 25,000 Homeland Security Department employees were exposed during a recent computer break-in at a federal contractor that handles security clearances, an agency official said Friday.

Recommended for you

Indonesia passes law to tap volcano power

Aug 26, 2014

The Indonesian parliament on Tuesday passed a long-awaited law to bolster the geothermal energy industry and tap the power of the vast archipelago's scores of volcanoes.

Expert calls for nuke plant closure (Update)

Aug 25, 2014

A senior federal nuclear expert is urging regulators to shut down California's last operating nuclear plant until they can determine whether the facility's twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from ...

Image: Testing electric propulsion

Aug 20, 2014

On Aug. 19, National Aviation Day, a lot of people are reflecting on how far aviation has come in the last century. Could this be the future – a plane with many electric motors that can hover like a helicopter ...

Where's the real value in Tesla's patent pledge?

Aug 20, 2014

With the much-anticipated arrival next month of electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla's Model S to Australian shores, it's a good time to revisit Tesla's pledge to freely share patents. ...

User comments : 0