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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Sorghum Biorefining: Integrated Processes for Converting all Sorghum Feedstock Components to Fuels and Co-Products

Location: Sustainable Biofuels and Co-products Research

Project Number: 8072-41000-094-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Oct 29, 2014
End Date: Oct 28, 2019

Objective:
1: Develop technologies that enable the integrated processing of sorghum grains and sweet sorghum juice at existing biofuels production facilities and that enable the commercial production of new co-products at sorghum-based biorefineries. 1A: Develop technologies that enable the integrated processing of sorghum grains at existing biofuels production facilities. 1B: Develop technologies that enable the integrated processing of sweet sorghum juice at existing biofuels production facilities. 1C: Develop technologies that enable the commercial production of new co-products at sorghum-based biorefineries. 2: Develop technologies that enable the commercial production of marketable C5-rich and C6-rich sugar streams from sorghum lignocellulosic components. 2A: Develop technologies that enable the commercial production of marketable C5-rich sugar streams from sorghum lignocellulosic components. 2B: Develop technologies that enable the commercial production of marketable C6-rich sugar streams from sorghum lignocellulosic components. 3: Develop technologies that enable the commercial conversion of sorghum lignocellulosic components into fuels and industrial chemicals. 3A: Develop technologies that enable the commercial production of industrial chemicals from the C5-rich sugar stream obtained from the enzymatic hydrolysis of pretreated sorghum cellulosic components. 3B: Develop technologies that enable the commercial production of additional ethanol and industrial chemicals from the C6-rich sugar stream obtained from the enzymatic hydrolysis of the cellulose-enriched residue. 3C: Develop technologies that enable the use of byproducts and wastes generated in ethanol and other fermentation processes in the sorghum biorefinery for production of energy and chemicals.

Approach:
In conjunction with collaborators, develop technologies that enable commercially-preferred bio/chemical processes for converting all components of sorghum plants, including grains, juice, and bagasse, into fuels, industrial chemicals and consumer products. Develop commercially viable processes for incorporation of sorghum grains into existing commercial corn-based ethanol plants and evaluate the effects of this process modification on overall water balances in the existing plants. Develop commercially viable technologies for using sweet sorghum juice and sorghum biomass, including both carbohydrates and lignin, for the production of important platform chemicals, i.e. chemicals that can be used as precursors for production of a wide range of industrial chemicals and consumer products. Develop technologies for capturing the carbon dioxide gas generated in ethanol fermentation for use in other fermentation processes that requires CO2 as a secondary feedstock in addition to fermentable sugars. Develop technologies for conversion of the wastes generated in cellulosic ethanol and industrial fermentation processes into methane for internal use as an energy source. Develop an integrated process combining the aforementioned process components for a sorghum-based biorefinery.

Last Modified: 09/25/2017
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