Bioethanol Production

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Bioethanol Production

by Dan Pellerin

It is almost impossible to go anywhere or do anything without being reminded of the fuel situation in this country. From national news stories to increased prices every time you fill your tank, we are reminded of the potential fuel shortage. As a result, research and other steps are being taken to avert current fuel shortages by finding alternative fuels such as ethanol. Consequently, Bioethanol production is increasing along with the production of vehicles which use this alternative fuel. Process Sensors Corp. is aggressively working to assist current and future ethanol plants to enhance their efficiency and profitability.

Corn ethanol is produced by adding a water and enzyme mix to ground corn. The enzymes work to break down the starch into sugars. This mixture is heated and cooled before the addition of yeast. The sugars then ferment producing ethanol, carbon dioxide and other co-products. The ethanol is then distilled out leaving a corn mash. This corn mash is then dried to approximately 12% moisture. This co-product of corn ethanol production is called Distillers Dried Grains (DDG) and is sold as animal feed resulting in extra income for the ethanol plant. Often, Solubles will be added and the name changed to DDGS.

Use of PSC’s MCT300 NIR Continuous Moisture Analyzer provides accurate, responsive and continued moisture monitoring of DDG or DDGS which allows Process Operators to see moisture problems as they arise. The advantage being the ability to correct these problems or inconsistencies before the product becomes out of specification, resulting in increased quality of product and lower manufacturing costs. This helps to lower dryer energy costs by reducing waste due to overdrying. Appropriate moisture levels can also help maximize the weight of the product without exceeding contracted standards. It also helps provide a consistent quality product. The easy to use MCT 300 is a valuable addition to all DDG or DDGS producing facilities.

Process Sensors Corp. is also working with research facilities to determine the effectiveness of our sensors in measuring other components such as protein and fat content. There will be future articles as this evaluation process is completed. At present, you will be able to see our sensor in action at the Nation Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center at Southern Illinois University.

If you have any questions, or would like to speak to us, please call us at 508-473-9901. We would also be happy to give you a demonstration in your facility.

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