Submitted to: International Starch Technology Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/5/2005
Publication Date: 6/8/2005
Citation: Robertson, G.H. 2005. Cold-ethanol for biorefining (abstract). 4th International Starch Technology Conference. Paper No. 2.
Technical Abstract: Ethanol has been used, or proposed for use, as a process fluid or separation agent for a number of bio-refining operations. These include oil extraction, solvent exchange, displacement drying, protein extraction, blood plasma fractionation, shellac deposition, protein film deposition, corn zein protein extraction, corn total protein extraction, wheat gluten protein-from-starch physical separation. It's use is attractive because of its miscibility with solvents and water, low surface tension, low boiling point, low freezing point, low heat of vaporization, low density, and manageable capacity for dissolving many crop components. Conservative energy use and enhanced quality of the separated platform chemicals may be attributed to its use. With the growth of ethanol production from grains, availability of inexpensive ethanol for these uses is assured. One application of ethanol-based processing of present interest is the refining separation of wheat to its component platforms. Wheat is produced in surplus in the United States and greater domestic use in the form of biofuels and biobased products has been sought by the wheat production community to compensate for declining export markets. Although an established industry in the United States, Canada, and Europe; wheat refining may also be viewed as nascent in terms of its future potential. The industry in the US is not inhibited by an extensive and established infrastructure; hence, non-conventional processing technologies may be considered for new infrastructure. Ethanol-based wheat refining to produce concentrated starch and protein is being researched at the Western Regional Research Center. In a patented method, chilled-ethanol is applied to a mechanically developed wheat flour batter to physically displace starch and at the same time remove water. The method takes advantage of and uniquely protects the unusual functional properties of wheat proteins so that traditional food markets may be enhanced and new, non-food markets may be created. The technology may be extended and evolved to include protein sub-fractionation and may enhance subsequent non-cooking alcohol processes.