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Study finds more effective way to dry ethanol, reduce costs

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http://www.biofuelsbusiness.com/news/newsfinder.asp?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=586&docId=l:1500451302&topicId=100590014&start=3&topics=single

 

This one is for you Thumpin -- use a starch to dry your home brew;

 

 

Purdue University researchers have found an alternative environmentally friendly and energy-efficient way to dry corn ethanol, and their proof is in the pudding.

 

Michael Ladisch, a distinguished professor of agricultural and biological engineering; Youngmi Kim, a Purdue research scientist; and Ahmad Hilaly, director of process research at Archer Daniels Midland, found that the shape and structure of tapioca pearls are ideal for removing water from ethanol. Their findings were reported in the July issue of the journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

 

After fermentation, ethanol contains between 6 per cent and 12 per cent water, which must be removed to make it fuel-grade.

 

Many ethanol plants use corn grits, which absorb water, or molecular sieves, silica-based particles with tiny pores that only retain water molecules. Ladisch and Kim found that tapioca pearls work better than the conventional corn grit adsorbents.

 

"Any starch will absorb water. That's how you cook rice or pasta," Kim said. "The tapioca pearl is made of aggregated cassava starch granules that can adsorb more water."

 

Ladisch said tests found tapioca collected about 34 per cent more water than corn. Molecular sieves, while effective, eventually wear out and create waste that must be disposed of. The tapioca can be dried and reused, and when they wear out, they can be used to make more ethanol.

 

"Tapioca is very efficient, and it's all-natural," Ladisch said. "There are no disposal issues. It's much more environmentally friendly."

 

Tapioca pearls, essentially spherical, are structured differently than corn grits, Ladisch said. While corn grits are solid, irregularly shaped particles, tapioca pearls contain a gelatin starch core upon which dry starch granules are aggregated, significantly increasing surface area.

 

While tapioca pearls are 100-per cent starch, corn grits also contain fibre, protein and other substances that are not efficient for absorbing water.

 

Starch-based adsorbents like tapioca pearls also take up the heat created during drying, allowing that heat to be reused to evaporate water during regeneration of the drying bed.

 

"This combines fundamental biochemistry, biology and engineering with thermodynamics to obtain an efficient separation system," Ladisch said.

 

After trying several options to maximise water absorption, including corncobs and wood chips, inspiration struck Ladisch while watching his mother-in-law fix Thanksgiving dinner. As she started mixing up homemade tapioca pudding, Ladisch noticed that the tapioca pearls looked similar to the beads used in molecular sieves.

 

"I started thinking, 'It's a starch. Might this work?'" Ladisch said.

 

Ladisch said tapioca pearls may be used effectively in US ethanol facilities, but he believes they could be more significant in facilities in South America and Africa where the plant used to create tapioca - cassava - is grown.

 

Ladisch and Kim said they would continue to test uses for tapioca pearls, including drying other alcohols. They also plan to create synthetic, starch-based adsorbents from other cheaper materials to lower the cost. 

 

September 14, 2011

 

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Boy, that sounds interesting. If we all have to start making our own in the backyard then tapioca sounds doable. Hopefully the congressional hearing that took place by the food and livestock guys doesn't get to first base.

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I also read that... was thinking of thrumpin' as well!

 

said they would continue to test uses for tapioca pearls, including drying other alcohols. They also plan to create synthetic, starch-based adsorbents from other cheaper materials to lower the cost. 

 

This was what I was wondering... how much tapioca/cassava are we looking at here... how much of this is available?  Can this be replicated artificially?

 

Like how the inspiration was from thanksgiving diner... funny how ideas come about.

 

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I would rather use tapioca/cassava to produce fuel. It has almost as much starch as cattails do, but it doesnt like to grow up here. Ethanol doesnt need the water removed to be fuel grade, only to be mixed with gasoline. Not planning on doing much mixing next year. If I want mixed I will just go buy E85, like on long trips.

 

There is also a method for using corn as a sieve to pull the water out, starch absorbs it pretty good really, provided its dry when you start.

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I once worked for a rather large food company that bought up all the psyllium they could get their greedy hands on. Some researcher published all sorts of dietary miracles about psyllium and this food giant didn't want anyone else to market it. This company never did anything with it and scrapped millions worth of it. Psyllium is supposed to be full of starch and fatty acids, wonder if that would work for E production. I bet there is still a bunch around in the Battle Creek Michigan area :57:.

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I once worked for a rather large food company that bought up all the psyllium they could get their greedy hands on. Some researcher published all sorts of dietary miracles about psyllium and this food giant didn't want anyone else to market it. This company never did anything with it and scrapped millions worth of it. Psyllium is supposed to be full of starch and fatty acids, wonder if that would work for E production. I bet there is still a bunch around in the Battle Creek Michigan area :57:.

 

 

Psyllium gives me gas -- :s_laugh:  Or I should say it would if I used it for fiber in the diet OR used it to make ethanol- either way--- :)

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