Emerging Opportunities for Corn-Based Fuel Ethanol Fermentation Residues
Production and utilization of corn-based fuel ethanol has dramatically increased in recent years. Concomitantly, so has the amount of nonfermentable processing residues. These coproducts are fed to livestock, primarily ruminants (beef and dairy cattle), and to a certain degree swine and poultry. But how much can be consumed by livestock before the feed markets become saturated? The sale of these distillers grains are key to the ethanol industry’s viability. But long-term sustainability will be dependent upon the development of diverse value streams from the corn kernel, both pre- and post-fermentation. The objective of this project is to discuss several new opportunities for corn ethanol coproduct utilization. These include evolving production processes, modifications which improve the digestibility of the residues, upstream and downstream nutrient fractionation, using DDGS (or specific components thereof) as neutraceuticals, as ingredients in human foods, as biofillers in plastics, as feedstocks for the production of bioenergy (i.e., heat and electricity, thermochemical conversion, anaerobic digestion), and as substrates for the further production of ethanol or other biofuels (such as biodiesel). Developing and deploying these potential applications in the marketplace will increase the utility and value of fermentation coproducts, will improve manufacturing economics and augment the viability of the corn-based ethanol industry, and will move the industry toward next-generation biorefineries.
This poster was presented at Corn Utilization and Technology Conference, 4–6 June 2012, Indianapolis, IN.