Date of Award
Master of Science
Corn wet milling is a process that separates corn into its basic components to create a great variety of added value products. Starch, one of the major biorenewable resources in the United States, and starch-derived products, sweeteners and ethanol, are the major products of the corn wet milling industry. However, corn wet milling is an energy and water intensive process. This research provides a general method to calculate the cost of starch washing of a corn wet-milling plant by modeling the separation of the starch and water by hydrocyclones, and calculating the energy, irreversibilities, and cost per unit of mass of final product. The objective is to find an optimized set of design variables to minimize the cost of washing the product. Using an analytical approach, the separation was modeled with existing empirical equations fitted to real plant data. A sensitivity analysis showed that the geometry of the hydrocyclones, water flow rate, number of stages, and flow ratio of the last stage were the design variables that most affected the washing cost. A case study showed that an optimized system could reduce the washing cost from
Mirka M. Deza
Deza, Mirka M., "Economic analysis and optimization of the starch-washing system of a corn wet-milling plant" (2006). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 19004.