2002 Review-Research & Development

Ethanol research and development is an extremely important component of EPM's editorial mission. That was especially true in our first year, when we featured several articles on the research and science at the forefront of tomorrow's ethanol industry. Here's a look at four prominent research articles from 2002.
By | December 01, 2002
Zein Protein Research
In April, EPM reported on engineers at the Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC) in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, who saw the potential to lower production costs of ethanol by making the coproducts more valuable, while creating new markets. The researchers believed one approach was to develop a less expensive process to separate a valuable protein - zein - from corn. James Craig, former head of the center said, "We believed we could develop a process to extract the zein at a cost that makes it attractive as a commodity."

SIUE Pilot Plant
EPM was one of the first to report in-depth about Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville's (SIUE) ethanol research plant in the school's University Park. The Ethanol Research Pilot Plant will enable researchers to experiment with ethanol production in a 20,000 square-foot building and emulate a full-scale commercial ethanol plant. "The research facility will provide significant benefits to the ethanol industry by testing emerging technologies, exploring the development of new products and expanding the horizons of energy efficiencies," EPM reported.

NREL/Corn Stover

In June, EPM published an update on the the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) development of ethanol from lignocellulosic feedstocks. "The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has modeled many potential process designs and estimated the economics of each process during the last 20 years. During June 2002, NREL completed a report that updates NREL's ongoing process design and economic analyses and describes a potential design and necessary targets for reaching an ethanol price of $1.07 per gallon," NREL's Mark Ruth told EPM.

USDA Cold Hydrolysis

A contributing writer for EPM covered the topic of cold hydrolysis in our July isue.

"Cold hydrolysis has been - and is - of interest as a way to reduce processing energy for conversion of grain to ethanol," said George Robertson of the USDA's Western Regional Research Center. "Calculation of the theoretical amount of energy used in the current liquefaction and saccharification processes yields values of from 7100 to 12000 Btu/gal of ethanol produced for cooking temperatures of from 105-150C. This is about 10 percent of the fuel value of the ethanol produced and doesn't account for thermal efficiencies in getting the heat to the process fluid."