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Sweet Sorghum Ethanol: In-Field Fermentation Issues Dani Bellmer 1, Ray Huhnke 2 1 Assoc. Professor, Biosystems Engineering & Food and Agricultural Products.

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Presentation on theme: "Sweet Sorghum Ethanol: In-Field Fermentation Issues Dani Bellmer 1, Ray Huhnke 2 1 Assoc. Professor, Biosystems Engineering & Food and Agricultural Products."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sweet Sorghum Ethanol: In-Field Fermentation Issues Dani Bellmer 1, Ray Huhnke 2 1 Assoc. Professor, Biosystems Engineering & Food and Agricultural Products Center 2 Professor, Biosystems Engineering Oklahoma State University

2 In the US, we currently import over 60% of our petroleum needs

3 Current U.S. Ethanol Production Facilities 117 operational, 57 under construction

4 Sweet Sorghum Has Great Potential as an Energy Crop  Can be grown in temperate climates  “More Crop Per Drop” - Low irrigation needs (1/2 corn and 1/3 sugarcane)  Drought tolerant  12-21% directly fermentable sugar (i.e. no starch to convert)

5 Traditional Sugar Processing Sugarcane Central FacilityOn-Farm Pres s Juice Bagasse Fermentation Distillation & Dehydration Heat Energy

6 In-Field Production of Ethanol from Sweet Sorghum Harvesting, pressing, & fermenting the juice in the field…

7 Potential In-Field Processing Sorghum Pres s Juice Bagasse Fermentation Dewatering/ Distillation Dehydration Central FacilityOn-Farm Field Residue Silage Heat Energy

8

9 Potential In-Field Storage Bladders

10 Possible System Scenario in OK  Begin planting ~ mid April  Stagger plantings April- June  Harvest July – mid-November (4.5 month harvest window)  Producers owns 1 week juice storage capacity + partial dewatering system  Final dehydration conducted at central site

11 Evaluate Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Potential in Oklahoma Goals: Evaluate In-Field Fermentation Issues Determine Factors Affecting Juice Extraction Efficiency Evaluate Potential for Expanded Harvest Window

12 Fermentation

13 Theoretical Ethanol Production Stoichiometry of sugar fermentation: C 6 H 12 O 6  2C 2 H 5 OH + 2CO 2 Theoretical Conversion: 0.51 g etoh/ g sugar

14 In-Field Fermentation

15 Ethanol Production Results

16 Ethanol Production at Different Harvest Times (1 month apart)

17 Effect of Inoculation Time on Ethanol Production

18 Effect of Leaf Stripping on Ethanol Production

19 Effect of Storage Fermentation samples after 5 months

20

21 Juice Extraction Efficiency  Compare roller press and screw press  Evaluate juice yield as affected by time of harvest  Effect of stalk diameter on juice expression

22 Small Scale Roller Press

23 Screw Press

24 Finely Chopped Bagasse Out of Screw Press

25 Screw Press vs Roller Press Juice Expression Ratio (g juice/g biomass)  Roller Press:  Screw Press:

26 Whole Stalks in Screw Press: Effect of Pressure

27 Effect of Harvest Time on Juice Expression (Roller Press)

28 Effect of Stalk Diameter on Juice Expression Large ~ 3 cm Small ~ 1.5 cm

29 Additional Ongoing Research  Determine level of sterilization needed between fermentation cycling in storage bladders  Develop on-farm partial dewatering process  Evaluate staggered plantings to determine effect of extended harvest window

30 Three Different Planting Dates

31 Potential Ethanol Yield (gallons/acre) * Assumes 0.55 juice expression ratio and 90% conversion efficiency

32 Trade-Offs Between Processing Scenarios Central FacilityOn-Farm -Lower Transportation Costs -Lower Capital Costs -More Feasible in Reduced Harvest Window Scenarios -Value to Rural Economies -Higher Juice Extraction Efficiency -Higher Conversion Efficiency -Economies of Scale

33 Critical Process Questions Remaining  Best technology for in-field, single pass pressing  Determination of extent of dewatering to be completed on-farm, and best technology  Sterilization Requirements

34 The Future is Sweet…

35 Acknowledgements  OSU Collaborators: Ray Huhnke, Dimple Kundiyana, Chad Godsey, Bill Raun, Rodney Holcomb, students  Lee McClune, LeeMax Energy, Knoxville, IA  Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Poteau, OK  OK Field Research Station Superintendents  Oklahoma Food and Agricultural Products Center, Stillwater, OK

36 Sugar Content Monitoring 115 Days After Planting


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