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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS OF RENEWABLE FUELS DERIVED FROM GRAINS AND RELATED BIOMASS

Location: Sustainable Biofuels and Co-Products

2006 Annual Report


1.What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? Why does it matter?
Agriculturally-derived renewable fuels have the potential to provide three major benefits to the United States: Energy independence; Economic opportunities for U.S. farmers and rural businesses; and Environmental improvements by cleaning the air and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The demand for fuel ethanol in the U.S. is expected to at least double over the next several years due to federal mandates and the phase-out of Methyl tert-Butyl Ether (MTBE). Technological advances are still needed, however, to enhance the economic competitiveness of domestically produced renewable fuels, such as fuel ethanol, so they can compete in the marketplace with lower-priced fossil fuels. Especially needed are new and improved dry grind ethanol processes for corn that can produce cheaper ethanol while producing revenue-generating coproducts more valuable than traditional Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS). Research in this area is critically needed to continue to decrease the cost and the energy required for producing fuel ethanol. There is now a major need for ethanol plants on the East and West Coasts, to satisfy growing local ethanol markets, especially in the North East and in California. Since most of these states are corn deficit, ethanol plants located there would need to either import higher-priced corn from the Midwest or develop an alternative grain more easily grown locally. Groups of East Coast, Pacific Northwest, and Upper Midwest farmers, farmer groups, trade associations, and University small grain breeders have identified barley, and specifically, hulless barley as such a crop. Similar interest in barley is being seen in other corn deficit states around the U.S. Research is needed however, to assist barley breeders in selecting varieties that are optimal for ethanol and coproduct production. Research is also needed to solve technical problems related to milling and fermentation of barley as well as expanding the feed applications for barley DDGS. Finally, major Federal initiatives are in place to create a future Hydrogen Economy. For this effort to be successful, hydrogen should be produced locally from renewable resources through improved gasification processes. The ARS has a growing energy crop program to produce energy crops for various regions of the country. The initial goal was to develop processes to convert these crops to ethanol, through hydrolysis and fermentation. No program on gasification of these crops to form hydrogen, syngas, and liquid fuels is available in ARS. The present research project will fill this void by conducting gasification research on these specific energy crops as well as crop residues and fibrous ethanol plant byproducts. Research leading to cost-effective, integrated fuel ethanol/ biomass hydrogen facilities using grain and energy crops plus crop-derived biomass would greatly benefit the hydrogen initiative. Development of new technology that integrates feedstock pretreatment, biological conversion and product recovery processes, as well as fundamental knowledge regarding fermentation, milling and separations resulting in additional income and reductions in capital and processing costs associated with biofuel production contributes to ARS National Program goals. This project responds directly to the "Ethanol" problem area of NP 307 Action Plan's Component I, Ethanol specifically by developing new Process Efficiencies (Ammoniation process, continuous fermentation, dry mill pre-treatments to remove non-fermentable kernel components, increasing the fermentability and ethanol yields from barley and hulless barley) and by conducting new CoProduct Development (hydrogen, premium high-protein feeds, high-protein, low carbohydrate food ingredients). The project also responds to the Action Plan's Component IV, Energy Crops in which conversion methods need to be further improved to reduce the cost of deriving fuels from biomass (Hydrogen from fibrous grain milling fractions and energy crops) and Crop residues such as corn stalks and wheat [barley] straw for biomass fuel production. Whereas there is no specific mention of hydrogen in the NP 307 Action Plan, National Program Staff gave approval for including hydrogen in NP 307 Research Goals in January 2004. The project also responds directly to NP306 action plan's Problem Area 2b - New Uses for Agricultural By-products and 2c - New and Improved Processes and Products).


2.List by year the currently approved milestones (indicators of research progress)
FY 2005

1(a) To begin development of upstream dry grind and dry milling processes with potential to decrease the cost of fuel ethanol production from corn.

1(b) Begin to develop a continuous process to evenly ammoniate corn with potential to lower cost of fuel ethanol production.

1(c) To begin evaluation of the ammoniation of corn as a pretreatment of dry milling processes with potential to decrease the cost of fuel ethanol production from corn.

2(a) To begin development of upstream dry fractionation processes with potential to decrease the cost of fuel ethanol production from barley.

2(b) Begin development of b-glucanase and high-solids fermentation technology as a potential process to lower cost of fuel ethanol from barley

3(b)Begin to characterize phytonutrients in high-oil fractions such as those obtained by scarification with the goal of identifying new valuable coproducts for functional foods and ingredients.

4(a)To begin conducting Pyrolysis-GC/MS Studies to establish the thermo-chemical energy potential of grain milling byproducts and energy crops being developed and studied in the ARS bioenergy program

FY 2006

1(a) To continue development and testing of upstream dry grind and dry milling processes with potential to decrease the cost of fuel ethanol production from corn.

1(b) Continue to develop a continuous process to evenly ammoniate corn with potential to lower cost of fuel ethanol production.

1(c) To conclude the evaluation of ammoniation of corn as a pretreatment of dry milling processes with potential to decrease the cost of fuel ethanol production from corn.

1(d) Begin to determine the effects of fractionation and ammoniation on fermentation and coproducts.

1(e) Begin process modeling and economic analysis of fractionation and ammoniation to determine their economic benefit in fuel ethanol production.

2(a) Continue development of upstream dry fractionation processes with potential to decrease the cost of fuel ethanol production from barley.

2(b) Continue development of b-glucanase and high-solids fermentation technology as a potential process to lower cost of fuel ethanol from barley

2(c) Begin process and economic analysis for new barley process: develop base case barley to ethanol model.

3(a) Begin characterization of fractionated streams, from corn and barley, resulting from upstream ethanol processes and combine them to make potential low carb flour replacements and provide to collaborators for evaluations.

3(b) Continue to characterize phytonutrients in high-oil fractions such as those obtained by scarification with the goal of identifying new valuable coproducts for functional foods and ingredients. Identify and provide high-oil samples to potential industry partners.

3(c) To begin evaluation of low carb extruded snacks and related products using low starch corn and barley fractions resulting from "upstream" ethanol processes

3(d) Begin economic analysis for feasibility of products in this objective.

4(a) Continue conducting Pyrolysis -GC/MS Studies to establish the thermo-chemical energy potential of grain milling byproducts and energy crops being developed and studied in the ARS bioenergy program. 4(b) To begin construction of a bench-top gasifier and conduct studies to determine the potential of grain byproducts and energy crops as feedstock for production of syn gas.

4(c) Begin initial process/cost simulation modeling for co-located fuel ethanol and thermochemical conversion plants.

FY 2007

1(a) To complete development of "upstream" dry grind and dry milling processes with potential to decrease the cost of fuel ethanol production from corn.

1(b) Complete the development of a continuous process to evenly ammoniate corn with potential to lower cost of fuel ethanol production.

1(d) Continue to determine the effects of fractionation and ammoniation on fermentation and coproducts.

1(e) Continue process modeling and economic analysis of fractionation and ammoniation to determine their economic benefit in fuel ethanol production.

2(a) Complete development of upstream dry fractionation processes with potential to decrease the cost of fuel ethanol production from barley.

2(b) Complete development of b-glucanase and high-solids fermentation technology as a potential process to lower cost of fuel ethanol from barley

2(c) Continue process and economic analysis for barley processes: develop hulless barley to ethanol model.

2(d) Begin Scale up of barley dry fractionation and fermentation processes to prepare quantities for feed studies (if feasibility studies warrant).

3(a) Continue characterization of fractionated streams, from corn and barley, resulting from upstream ethanol processes and combine to make potential low carb flour replacements and provide to collaborators for evaluations.

3b) Complete the characterization of phytonutrients in high-oil fractions such as those obtained by scarification and determine their potential value as coproducts with functional food applications.

3(c) To begin development of potential low carb extruded snacks and related products using low starch corn and barley fractions resulting from upstream ethanol processes.

3(d) Continue economic analysis for feasibility of low carb extruded snacks.

4(a) To complete Pyrolysis-GC/MS studies and establish the thermo-chemical energy potential of grain milling byproducts and energy crops being developed and studied in the ARS bioenergy program.

4(b) To complete construction and testing of the gasifier and begin conducting studies to determine the potential of grain byproducts and energy crops as feedstock for production of syn gas.

4(c) To conduct process/cost simulation modeling for co-located fuel ethanol and thermochemical conversion plants to determine the economic feasibility of direct firing/co-firing of grain byproducts and energy crop biomass in such plants.

FY 2008

1(d) Complete determination of the effects of fractionation and ammoniation on fermentation and coproducts.

1(e) Continue process modeling and economic analysis of fractionation and ammoniation to determine their economic benefit in fuel ethanol production

2(c) Continue process and economic analysis for fuel ethanol from barley processes: develop barley to ethanol model modified for feedstock from barley fractionation.

2(d) Continue scale-up barley dry fractionation and fermentation processes to prepare quantities for feed studies (if feasibility studies warrant).

3(a) Conclude low carb flour replacements studies with collaborators and determine their potential as value added coproducts from fuel ethanol plants/processes.

3(c) To continue development of potential low carb extruded snacks and related products using low starch corn and barley fractions resulting from upstream ethanol processes.

3(d) Continue economic analysis for feasibility of low carb extruded snacks.

4(b) To continue to conduct gasification studies to determine the potential of grain byproducts and energy crops as feedstock for production of syn gas.

4(c) To conduct process/cost simulation modeling for co-located fuel ethanol and thermochemical conversion plants to determine the economic feasibility of firing biomass-derived syngas in such plants.

FY 2009

1(e) Complete process modeling and economic analysis of fractionation and ammoniation to determine economic benefit for lowering cost of fuel ethanol production.

2(c) Complete process and economic analysis for new barley process: Refine models using raw starch hydrolyzing enzymes.

2(d) Complete feed studies with collaborators and determine the potential for barley fractions and DDGS in animal feeds

3(c) To conclude development of potential low carb extruded snacks and related products using low starch corn and barley fractions resulting from upstream ethanol processes.

3(d) Complete economic analysis for feasibility of low carb extruded snacks.

4(b) To complete gasification studies to determine the potential of grain byproducts and energy crops as feedstock for production of syn gas.

4(c) To complete process/cost simulation modeling for co-located fuel ethanol and thermochemical conversion plants with the determination of the economic feasibility of firing biomass-derived bio-oil in such plants.


4a.List the single most significant research accomplishment during FY 2006.
Discovery of Key Enzymes to Boost Fuel Ethanol Production from Barley. New feedstocks for fuel ethanol production are needed. Currently 95% of fuel ethanol is made from corn and continued growth of the ethanol market could create shortages of corn for food and feed uses. Barley could be a potential alternative feedstock if problems with its high viscosity and low ethanol yields could be solved. Our research has found a new combination of enzymes (beta-glucanases and beta-glucosidases) that has the potential to solve both problems of viscosity and yield. The key discovery was the use of beta-glucosidase enzymes that are currently missing from commercial enzymes for barley conversion to ethanol. Development of new commercial enzyme preparations using this new knowledge will greatly benefit the small, but growing barley-to-fuel ethanol industry, which will allow building of ethanol plants outside the corn belt, in the barley belts of the East Coast, Northwest, and Upper Midwest and produce an additional 1-2 billion gallons of fuel ethanol for the US market. This work supports the ARS National Program 307, Bioenergy and Energy Alternatives, Component 1, Ethanol.


4b.List other significant research accomplishment(s), if any.
Tocotrienols in Barley Kernel Oil and Barley Fines Oil. The outer layers of the barley kernel are low in starch and high in oil. Experiments were conducted using a commercial scarifier to abrade the outer layers of barley cultivars and evaluate the yields and composition of the oil in these layers. Abrasion for one minute removed 12 to 15% of the mass from the four barley cultivars evaluated (two common hulled cultivars and two new hulless cultivars). The amount of oil in the abraded "fines" fractions was 3-5% in the two hulled barely cultivars and 7-9% in the two hulless barley cultivars. The levels of total phytosterols (natural cholesterol lowering substances) in barley oils obtained by extracting these fines fractions were about 6-9% for the hulled cultivars and 2-5% for the hulless cultivars. Previously we reported that the levels of vitamin E components (tocopherols and tocotrienols) were high in all of the oils. During the last year we have discovered that the levels of tocotrienols in the barley oils are the highest ever reported for any natural plant oil. Previously palm oil and rice bran oil were considered to have the highest levels of tocotrienols, but barley kernel oil and barley fines oil now appear to contain higher levels of tocotrienols. This information may lead to the development of new nutraceutical oil products from barley. This work supports the ARS National Program 307, Bioenergy and Energy Alternatives, Component 1, Ethanol Coproduct Development.

Barley Hulls as a Feedstock for "Cellulosic" Ethanol. Most barley contains a hard and abrasive hull that makes up 10-15% of the weight of the kernel. When hulled barley is used to make fuel ethanol, the non-fermentable hull takes up valuable space in the fermentor, making the process inefficient. We developed a process to remove the hull from the barley, prior to grinding and producing fuel ethanol from the starchy portion of the kernel. The hull, which is rich in hemicellulose and cellulose, was then used to make "cellulosic ethanol" by pre-treatment with aqueous ammonia and then digestion with cellulases, followed by fermentation with a hexose and pentose-fermenting microorganism. The results of these studies showed that a 40 million gallon per year barley ethanol plant could increase ethanol production by 10-15% (4-6 million gallons) by converting the hull polysaccharides to additional "cellulosic" ethanol. This work supports the ARS National Program 307, Bioenergy and Energy Alternatives, Component 1, Ethanol Process Efficiencies.

Combustion of Barley Hulls to Generate Process Steam for a Barley Ethanol Plant. In most barley ethanol plants, the hulls wind up being part of the ethanol coproduct, Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS) that sells for less than $70/ton as ruminant animal feed ingredients. With the rising price of natural gas that is used to produce process steam in most ethanol plants, new sources of fuel are required. In this study, barley hulls were pyrolyzed in a special pyrolysis unit and the condensable and non-condensable gases and char produced were measured under different treatment conditions. Further thermochemical analyses of the hulls were carried out that determined hulls have an average calorific value of about 19MJ/kg (similar to tree bark). The information was placed into ERRC's SuperPro Process and Cost Simulator for a 40 MGY barley ethanol plant, and it was determined that use of barley hulls in a fluidized bed combustor could replace about 40% of the natural gas usage. This information will be of value to ethanol plant designers and builders as it will provide them a design option that would result in use of less fossil- and more renewable-fuels to provide plant energy. This work supports the ARS National Program 307, Bioenergy and Energy Alternatives, Component 1, Ethanol Process Efficiencies.

New Shake-Flask Method Helps to Study Production of Fuel Ethanol from Grains. Studying new fermentation methods to increase process efficiency can be a long and tedious process if fermentation experiments are conducted one at a time, using a traditional 72-hour fermentation in a mid-sized lab fermentor. We developed a shake-flask method to evaluate the fermentation characteristics of corn. The method permits an accurate determination of ethanol yield after 50 hours of fermentation time, while using only 50 g of corn mash for each flask. Scores of shake-flasks can be incubated simultaneously, allowing rapid throughput of samples and faster and more accurate results. This method will be used by our researchers to save time and money during the early stages of ethanol fermentation research projects. This work supports the ARS National Program 307, Bioenergy and Energy Alternatives, Component 1, Ethanol Process Efficiencies.


4c.List significant activities that support special target populations.
None.


4d.Progress report.
"Scarification" of Barley for Improved Fuel Ethanol and CoProduct Production. Scarification is a process that sequentially grinds off the outer surface (bran) of grain kernels as the kernels are tumbled on an abrasive surface. Based on preliminary results obtained from a limited scarification study initiated in 2004, a complete experiment was conducted to use scarification to produce fiber/oil rich and starch-rich fractions from hulless and hulled barley using three abrasive surfaces. Four barleys varieties, two hulled (Nomini and Thoroughbred) and two hulless (Doyce and Merlin) were scarified using three abrasive surfaces. All the fractions obtained at different degrees of abrasion are being evaluated to determine the chemical and physical composition of the fractions. The oil/fiber rich fractions are being characterized for potential nutraceutical coproduct applications while the starch-rich fractions will be considered for high-yielding fuel ethanol feedstock. The results of these studies will determine if scarification is a more profitable process that should be considered for future fuel ethanol plants using barley feedstock. This work supports the ARS National Program 307, Bioenergy and Energy Alternatives, Component 1, Ethanol Process Efficiencies and Coproducts.

Roller Mill Flow Designed for Dehulling Barley May Produce Ethanol Feedstock, Value-Added Food Ingredients, and Energy to Run Ethanol Plants. The presence of a very hard and abrasive hull on most barley varieties is a major problem for using this grain in fuel ethanol production. A roller mill flow consisting of different roll passes followed by fractionation based on particle size and particle density was designed as a way to remove the barley hull and produce useful fractions. This flow is capable of separating the hulls of the hulled barley from the fractions rich in pericarp (fiber) and endosperm (starch). The fractions rich in endosperm will be used for fermentation in ethanol production and the ones rich in pericarp will be used in future studies for "whole grain" food product development. The hull fractions are used in gasification studies. If this process is successful, a roller milling process could lower the cost of fuel ethanol from barley by providing high-starch feedstock needed for high yields of ethanol, fiber and nutrient rich coproducts for nutritious foods, and hulls that could be used in a co-located fluidized bed gasifier or combustor, that could produce much of the process steam needed to run the ethanol plant. This work supports the ARS National Program 307, Bioenergy and Energy Alternatives, Component 1, Ethanol Process Efficiencies and Coproducts.

Pyrolysis and Gasification of Energy Crops Yield Liquid and Gaseous Fuels. Pyrolysis studies were conducted on three herbaceous grasses and alfalfa stems all classified as energy crops in the national biomass initiative program. These experiments were carried out to establish their thermochemical conversion potential as a viable alternative to fermentation of energy crops to produce ethanol. While fermentation remains a popular biomass-to-biofuels conversion method, the thermochemical conversion e.g., pyrolysis to bio-oils, gasification, to syngas (CO, Hydrogen, Methane, etc.) and co-products may present a nearer term economic viability, if this can be experimentally verified. For this reason, the first ARS program on thermochemical conversion of biomass was initiated at the ERRC. Through this, pyrolysis studies employing a Pyroprobe-GC/MS setup were conducted on lowland ecotype Cave-in-Rock switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea), herbaceous C3 cool-season grass, eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides) a warm-season herbaceous grass and alfalfa stems (Medicago sativa L.) All herbaceous grasses and alfalfa produced useful syngas during pyrolysis and their energy potentials were correlated with their maturity at harvest. In related research, ERRC is conducting collaborative studies with the USDA-ARS National Forage Seed Production Center in Corvallis, OR and the Western Research Institute to study a new dual-stage gasification concept to convert grass straw and other agricultural residues into syngas and other value-added energy products on a scale suitable for on-farm use. The results of these studies will be used to determine the economic viability of using pyrolysis and gasification processes to produce gaseous and liquid fuels for transportation and on-farm needs. This work supports the ARS National Program 307, Bioenergy and Energy Alternatives, Component 1, Ethanol Process Efficiencies and Coproducts.

The following section serves to document research conducted under a CRADA between ARS and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Corporation. Additional details of research can be found in the report for the subordinate CRIS 1935-41000-072-O2T, "Biomass Research and Development for the Production of Fuels, Chemicals and Improved Cattle Feeds". The CRADA funding originally derived from a 2003 USDA-DOE Biomass R&D Grant that was co-written by ADM and ERRC. ADM was the submitting organization. The project builds on corn ammoniation and continuous fermentation and ethanol stripping technology that was developed under the parent CRIS. This technology will be combined with other new technologies to enhance the profitability of ethanol production by the dry grind process.

Progress to date at ERRC includes:

1. Continuation of the research plan for ERRC that includes development of a continuous corn ammoniator, a new analytical method to measure ammonia levels in treated corn, new dry milling technologies for processing ammoniated and non-ammoniated corn for ethanol production, evaluating fermentability for ammoniated and non-ammoniated corn, developing more efficient fermentation processes, and conducting process and cost analysis to quantify the benefits (if any) for using ammoniation and new fermentation techniques in the corn to ethanol process.

2. Held regularly scheduled conference calls to coordinate research between two ADM locations and ERRC. Will hold quarterly meeting in fall of 2006 in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.

3. Used the ERRC continuous ammoniator to produce 400 lb (7 bushel) and 800 lb (14 bushel) quantities of corn at two different ammoniation levels, 400 ppm and 800 ppm for evaluation of efficiency and consistency of treatment and fine-tuning its operation.

4. Updated the ARS 40 million gallon/year dry grind ethanol process and cost computer simulation model and provided this research tool to the ADM cooperators. Also provided models for dry pre-fractionation of corn, and for continuous fermentation with stripping, derived from the dry-grind base case.

5. Experiments were conducted and completed to show the effect of soaking in aqueous ammonia (SAA) on the digestibility of cellulose and hemicellulose in barley hulls.

6. Experiments were conducted to determine the effect of ammoniation on dry separations of dry-milled corn.

7. Developed a shake-flask method to evaluate the fermentation characteristics of ammoniated and non-ammoniated corn. The method permits an accurate determination of ethanol yield after 50 hours of fermentation time, while using only 50 g of corn mash for each flask


5.Describe the major accomplishments to date and their predicted or actual impact.
Researchers Built First Continuous, Pilot Plant-Scale Corn Kernel Ammoniation Device. Exposing whole corn to anhydrous (gaseous) ammonia may loosen the hull and help to separate it from the kernel prior to fuel ethanol production, a process that could lead to cheaper fuel ethanol production. To test this hypothesis, a method was needed to safely, uniformly and reproducibly treat whole corn with ammonia. It was necessary to control the amount of ammonia and time of exposure. Batch methods were not suitable, because hot spots form and the treatment is uneven. To solve this problem, a continuous flow ammoniator was designed, built and tested. The device was shown to reproducibly and safely distribute up to 1000 ppm of anhydrous ammonia into 2.5 kg/min of dry corn. Distribution of ammonia in corn was measured by assaying the ammonia content of individual corn kernels. Distribution was found to be much more uniform than in a bench-scale batch ammoniator. The idea of using ammonia to help remove the hull from corn was previously patented by ARS. The continuous ammoniator will enable research both here at ERRC and with A CRADA partner to determine the practical utility of the patent and of the technology. If the idea is found to be practical, the device may serve as a prototype, leading to industrial application of the technology to lower the cost of fuel ethanol from corn. This work supports the ARS National Program 307, Bioenergy and Energy Alternatives, Component 1, Ethanol Coproduct Development and Process Efficiencies.

Development of the ERRC Grain Processing Research Pilot Plant. One way to lower the cost of fuel ethanol from grain is to remove non-fermentable components from corn kernels prior to fermentation to ethanol. There was a major need for a grain milling research facility that contained bench and pilot scale grain fractionation equipment to test this hypothesis. In 2004, a new Grain Processing Research Pilot Plant, unique to ARS was opened at ERRC. To expand the capability of this facility, new particle reduction and particle separation equipment was added in FY 2005. This new equipment includes four new roller mill stands and two additional sets of rolls that provide a wide range of applications in dry milling of barley and corn. Particle separation equipment includes a micron air jet separator, rotary sifter and air aspiration units. In addition, a whitener unit and a color analyses unit complete the equipment necessary to conduct fractionation studies and evaluation of milling alternatives for new barley varieties. This new facility provides unique resources that will enable ARS researchers to lower the cost of fuel ethanol through grain fractionation and fermentation research. This work supports the ARS National Program 307, Bioenergy and Energy Alternatives, Component 1, Ethanol Coproduct Development and Process Efficiencies.

Experimental Milling Techniques May Improve Barley as a Fuel Ethanol Feedstock. In research designed to facilitate the use of barley as a feedstock for fuel ethanol production in "corn deficit states", four different experimental milling processing units designed for wheat flour production were tested with three barley varieties. This evaluation was used to determine the performance of the experimental mills and the barley varieties in the "upstream" (prior to fermentation) fractionation of barley for ethanol production. The milled streams were fermented and preliminary ethanol production characteristics determined. The chemical composition and particle size distribution of the streams produced had a major effect on fermentation rates, with some fractions fermenting 100% faster than others. The experimental milling results were used to select the most appropriate grinding equipment purchased for the ERRC Grain Processing Plant and for planning additional experiments on the small and pilot scale to fully understand the full potential of these techniques to improve fuel ethanol production from barley. This work supports the ARS National Program 307, Bioenergy and Energy Alternatives, Component 1, Ethanol Coproduct Development and Process Efficiencies.


6.What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end-user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products?
Unit scientists and engineers held a meeting with Novozymes to transfer new information about barley fermentation. Novozymes has provided enzymes to ARS for this purpose. December 2005.

A sophisticated computer simulation and cost model for 40 million gallons per year fuel ethanol from dry-grind corn that was developed in our Unit, was provided to approximately 100 requestors during this reporting period. These included academic researchers, private consultants and small and large companies involved in or seeking to become involved in the fuel ethanol industry including the USDA office of the Chief Economist, US Environmental Protection Agency, the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center, the Nebraska Ethanol Board, ADM, Dupont, Batelle Institute, Monsanto, Genencor , Novozymes, Booze Allen & Hamilton, Chevron, Cornel University, Lafayette College, Monsanto, Purdue University, Southern Illinois University, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Minnesota, the University of Illinois, Washington University and the University of Nebraska. Access to this model has helped the recipients with understanding the costs, energy, inputs and outputs of the ethanol process. They have used it for modeling, design and business decisions, and thus helped to improve the cost-effectiveness of fuel ethanol production from corn. The model was used by researchers in the USDA's office of the Chief Economist and many other groups across the US to study the net energy balance for ethanol. January 2006 to present.

A rigorous computer simulation model for a corn wet milling plant was developed in our Unit and it represents the only one of its kind in the public domain. Nineteen copies of the corn wet milling model have been requested and distributed to various organizations and individuals. These organizations included other ARS research centers, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Booze Allen & Hamilton, Corn Products, Lafayette University, the University of California, Purdue University the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Requestors used this model to understand the corn wet milling process, to understand the inputs and outputs, capital and operating costs and construction costs. January 2006- present

A Unit researcher worked through a specific cooperative agreement to transfer engineering information and assist in the design and construction of a farm-scale switchgrass gasifier in Ligonier PA. The unit was constructed and was tested. It purpose is to gasify switchgrass and generate electricity using the gas produced. It is now available for research and development by the owner and other interested parties. January to May 2006.

Unit scientists and engineers held a meeting with Genencor International to begin a new CRADA on fuel ethanol production from barley. Unit scientist and engineers transferred new computer cost and process models on the fuel ethanol process and new information on unique enzymes that have potential to increase the yield of fuel ethanol from barley, an alternative to corn that will play a major role in fuel ethanol production as corn feedstocks begin to tighten around the country due to unprecedented growth in ethanol production. Genencor will provide new enzymes and processing technologies. During the term of the CRADA new technology for barley fermentation will be developed and transferred to the ethanol industry by ARS and Genencor. June 2006.

Unit scientists and engineers met with approximately 25 different groups during the year to transfer information on fuel ethanol production technologies, economics, energy balance, feedstocks, and other technical matters related to ethanol production from grains and cellulosic feedstocks. January 2006 – present


7.List your most important publications in the popular press and presentations to organizations and articles written about your work. (NOTE: List your peer reviewed publications below).
Hicks, K.B., Stewardship of the Earth Through Renewable Fuels. Union League of Philadelphia, November, 2005.

Hicks, K.B., Flores, R.A, Kurantz, M. Taylor, F., Johnston, D., Moreau, R., Wilson, J., Kohout, K., and McAloon, A.J. Enzymes for the Production of Fuel Alcohol from Barley. Novozymes and ERRC joint meeting, Wyndmoor, PA, December, 2005.

Fireman, J., Quantitative HPLC analysis of Lipids, Bioscience Technology, January 2006, pp 48-50.

Hicks, K.B., New Feedstocks and Processes for Fuel Ethanol. Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Expo, State College PA, March, 2006.

McAloon, Andrew, Ethanol Economics and the Net Energy Balance of Ethanol, Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Expo, State College Pa., March 2006

Hicks, K.B., Agricultural Innovations in Energy Production and other Research Initiatives. South Central Assembly for Effective Governance Agriculture Committee, Penn State, Harrisburg Campus, Middletown PA, May 2006.

McAloon, Andrew, Cost Engineering in the Research Environment, Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering, Delaware Valley Section, Philadelphia, PA, May 2006.

Hicks, K.B., Kim, TH, McAloon, A.J., Taylor, F., Johnston, D. B., Boateng, A.A., and Moreau, R.A. Fuel Ethanol from Barley – A Research Update. Ethanol Producers and Consumers Annual Ethanol Conference, Whitefish Montana, June, 2006.

Hicks, K. B., Kim, TH, McAloon, A.J., Taylor, F., Johnston, D. B., Boateng, A.A., and Moreau, R.A. Fuel Ethanol From Hulless Barley. 22nd Annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June, 2006.

Hicks, K.B., Johnston, D.B., Moreau, R.A., McAloon, A.J., Ramirez, E., and Singh, V. Corn Wet Fractionation Prior to Fermentation for Recovery of Valuable Co-Products. Fifth Corn Utilization and Technology Conference, Dallas Texas, June 2006.

McAloon, Andrew, Modeling the Wet Milling Process. Fifth Corn Utilization and Technology Conference, Dallas Texas, June 2006

Burkdoll, S., Researcher shares ways to improve barley feasibility in ethanol production. The Prairie Star. Wednesday, July 5, 2006. http://www.theprairiestar.com/articles/2006/07/05/ag_news/farm_and_field/farm12.txt


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