Sweet sorghum ethanol in field fermentation issues
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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 Center 2 Professor, Biosystems Engineering Oklahoma State University. In the US, we currently import over 60% of our petroleum needs.

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Sweet Sorghum Ethanol: In-Field Fermentation Issues

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Sweet sorghum ethanol in field fermentation issues

Sweet Sorghum Ethanol: In-Field Fermentation Issues

Dani Bellmer1, Ray Huhnke2

1Assoc. Professor, Biosystems Engineering & Food and Agricultural Products Center

2Professor, Biosystems Engineering

Oklahoma State University


In the us we currently import over 60 of our petroleum needs

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


Current u s ethanol production facilities 117 operational 57 under construction

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


Sweet sorghum has great potential as an energy crop

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)


Traditional sugar processing

Heat Energy

Traditional Sugar Processing

On-Farm

Central Facility

Distillation &

Dehydration

Fermentation

Juice

Press

Sugarcane

Bagasse


In field production of ethanol from sweet sorghum

In-Field Production of Ethanol from Sweet Sorghum

Harvesting, pressing, & fermenting the juice in the field…


Potential in field processing

Field Residue

Heat Energy

Silage

Potential In-Field Processing

On-Farm

Central Facility

Dewatering/

Distillation

Dehydration

Fermentation

Juice

Press

Sorghum

Bagasse


Potential in field storage bladders

Potential In-Field Storage Bladders


Possible system scenario in ok

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


Evaluate sweet sorghum ethanol potential in oklahoma

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


Fermentation

Fermentation


Theoretical ethanol production

Theoretical Ethanol Production

Stoichiometry of sugar fermentation:C6H12O6  2C2H5OH + 2CO2Theoretical Conversion: 0.51 g etoh/ g sugar


In field fermentation

In-Field Fermentation


Ethanol production results

Ethanol Production Results


Ethanol production at different harvest times 1 month apart

Ethanol Production at Different Harvest Times (1 month apart)


Effect of inoculation time on ethanol production

Effect of Inoculation Time on Ethanol Production


Effect of leaf stripping on ethanol production

Effect of Leaf Stripping on Ethanol Production


Effect of storage fermentation samples after 5 months

Effect of Storage Fermentation samples after 5 months


Effect of storage fermentation samples after 5 months1

Effect of Storage Fermentation samples after 5 months


Sweet sorghum ethanol in field fermentation issues

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


Sweet sorghum ethanol in field fermentation issues

Small Scale Roller Press


Sweet sorghum ethanol in field fermentation issues

Screw Press


Sweet sorghum ethanol in field fermentation issues

Finely Chopped Bagasse Out of Screw Press


Screw press vs roller press

Screw Press vs Roller Press

Juice Expression Ratio (g juice/g biomass)

  • Roller Press: .36 - .4

  • Screw Press: .45 - .5


Whole stalks in screw press effect of pressure

Whole Stalks in Screw Press: Effect of Pressure


Effect of harvest time on juice expression roller press

Effect of Harvest Time on Juice Expression(Roller Press)


Effect of stalk diameter on juice expression

Effect of Stalk Diameter on Juice Expression

Large ~ 3 cm

Small ~ 1.5 cm


Additional ongoing research

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


Sweet sorghum ethanol in field fermentation issues

Three Different Planting Dates


Potential ethanol yield gallons acre

Potential Ethanol Yield(gallons/acre)

* Assumes 0.55 juice expression ratio and 90% conversion efficiency


Trade offs between processing scenarios

Trade-Offs Between Processing Scenarios

On-Farm

Central Facility

  • 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


Critical process questions remaining

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


Sweet sorghum ethanol in field fermentation issues

The Future is Sweet…


Acknowledgements

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


Sugar content monitoring

Sugar Content Monitoring

115 Days After Planting


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