NATIONAL CORN TO ETHANOL RESEARCH CENTER (NCERC) – ARS COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH
Project Number: 0500-00076-001-03
Specific Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Aug 01, 2009
End Date: Sep 30, 2012
Conduct collaborative research at NCERC to enable more profitability, better energy efficiency, and/or minimal financial risks in the commercial production of bioethanol and co-products. Examples of such research which would be of mutual benefit to NCERC and ARS include:
1. Research to remove chemical or biological limitations to conversion efficiency.
2. Research to enable the ability of corn-based biorefineries to process cellulosics.
• In FY 2010, research will be conducted to evaluate and optimize
technologies for the conversion of corn hulls to ethanol.
3. Research to enable ethanol biorefineries which process a variety of feedstocks (e.g., corn, barley, sweet sorghum, sugar cane, crop residues, etc.).
4. Research to determine the impact of biorefinery processes on co-product quality or quantities and to enable the production of new value-added (or higher value) co-products.
• In FY 2010, research will be conducted to determine the fate of
virginiamycin, one of the most commonly used antibiotics
in the fuel-ethanol industry, in the processes and operations used to
produce distillers’ dried grains with solubles (DDGS) from
NCERC will make its resources (facilities, equipment, expertise and personnel) available to assess, at a pilot-scale the commercial potential of ARS-developed processes and technologies for bioethanol production. (refer to "Mutual Agreement narrative" about the overall process for selecting specific research experiments to be performed at NCERC).
In FY 2010, experiments will be conducted at NCERC to measure the rate and products of enzymatic hydrolysis of corn hulls which have been pretreated by NCAUR scientists. Scientists at NCERC and NCAUR will cooperatively design and conduct experiments to optimize pretreatment and hydrolysis conditions by generating response surfaces for the yields of fermentable sugars and pretreatment byproducts as a function of pretreatment time, temperature, solids and chemical loadings, hydrolysis temperature, pH, enzyme dosages, and other critical parameters.
Also in FY 2010, pilot-scale research to investigate the fate of the antibiotic virginiamycin under typical fermentation, ethanol recovery, and coproduct production conditions will be conducted at NCERC. This will involve production of DDGS from three fermentors treated with different concentrations of virginiamycin, collection of samples from key processes and operations, and analysis of samples to measure the concentration of virginiamycin using accepted analytical methods. NCERC will provide samples to NCAUR scientists, who will measure the biological activity of residues using bioassays.