Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation of Ultrasonically Treated Corn Slurry

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Montalbo-lomboy, Melissa
Khanal, Samir
Dunn, Larson
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van Leeuwen, Johannes
Professor Emeritus
Raman, D. Raj
Morrill Professor
Grewell, David
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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The potential application of ultrasonics as a pretreatment process to enhance saccharification of starch in corn-to-ethanol plants is evaluated in this paper. Due to energy intensive use of steam in hydro-cooking, ultrasonics poses a promising alternative as a pretreatment method. Two independent ultrasonic experiments were conducted at a frequency of 20 kHz; batch and continuous flow treatment. Corn slurry was obtained from a nearby ethanol plant and sonicated in batch mode at amplitude of 144µmpeak-to-peak (p-p) for 90 s using a catenoidal horn with a 10 mm diameter face. In the continuous flow treatment, corn slurry was pumped through a reactor equipped with a Branson Ultrasonics “donut horn”. Jet-cooked samples were obtained from the same ethanol plant and analyzed for comparison in fermentation yield. Ethanol yields in sonicated samples were comparable to jet-cooked samples. The glucose levels decreased with consumption during the initial stage of the fermentation and suddenly dropped after 6 h as the ethanol increased. An economic comparison was also conducted on jet cooking and ultrasonics pretreatment methods. The analysis showed that capital cost for the ultrasonics system was higher compared to the capital cost of hydrocooking. However, due to the relatively large energy demand of jet cookers, the operating costs of the hydrocooker suggest that it is cost effective to use ultrasonics.


This is an ASABE Meeting Presentation, Paper No. 097422.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2009