Date of Award
Master of Science
Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
Charles R. Hurburgh Jr.
As the dry grind ethanol industry has grown, the research and technology surrounding ethanol production and co-product value has increased. Including use of back-end oil extraction and front-end fractionation. Front-end fractionation is pre-fermentation separation of the corn kernel into 3 fractions: endosperm, bran, and germ. The endosperm fraction enters the existing ethanol plant, and a high protein DDGS product remains after fermentation. High value oil is extracted out of the germ fraction. This leaves corn germ meal and bran as co-products from the other two streams. These 3 co-products have a very different composition than traditional corn DDGS. Installing this technology allows ethanol plants to increase profitability by tapping into more diverse markets, and ultimately could allow for an increase in profitability.
An ethanol plant model was developed to evaluate both back-end oil extraction and front-end fractionation technology and predict the change in co-products based on technology installed. The model runs in Microsoft Excel and requires inputs of whole corn composition (proximate analysis), amino acid content, and weight to predict the co-product quantity and quality. User inputs include saccharification and fermentation efficiencies, plant capacity, and plant process specifications including front-end fractionation and backend oil extraction, if applicable. This model provides plants a way to assess and monitor variability in co-product composition due to the variation in whole corn composition.
Additionally the co-products predicted in this model are entered into the US Pork Center of Excellence, National Swine Nutrition Guide feed formulation software. This allows the plant user and animal nutritionists to evaluate the value of new co-products in existing animal diets.
Camille Kelly Nelson
Nelson, Camille Kelly, "Analysis of fractionation in corn-to-ethanol plants" (2015). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 14604.