Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/25/2005
Publication Date: 5/25/2005
Citation: Hicks, K.B., Flores, R.A., Taylor, F., Mcaloon, A.J., Moreau, R.A., Johnston, D., Senske, G.E., Brooks, W.S., Griffey, C.A. 2005. Barley: a potential feedstock for fuel ethanol in the U. S.?. Proceedings of the Fourth International Starch Conference, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL, June 5-8, p.25-29.
Technical Abstract: In 2004, approximately 3.5 billion gallons of fuel ethanol were produced in the U.S. and over 90% of that ethanol was made from corn. Approximately 15% of the 2005 U.S. crop is expected to be used to produce over 4 billion gallons of fuel ethanol. While this unprecedented growth has benefited corn farmers significantly, continued growth of the industry will put stresses on corn supplies. Producers from non-corn belt states also need new markets for grains they can grow in order to increase farm income and rely less on Federal subsidies and farm payments. Barley may be such a crop. Unfortunately, regular hulled barley can not be converted to fuel ethanol using a conventional corn-to-ethanol process without significant modifications. Use of this feedstock is problematic and current processes for conversion to fuel ethanol are not cost competitive today in the U.S. versus the use of corn. The abrasive nature of hulled barley, the high viscosity of barley fermentations, and the low starch and high fiber content lead to high production costs, low ethanol yields, and a distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) coproduct that can't be fed to monogastric animals. A multidisciplinary research effort at the Eastern Regional Research Center, ARS, USDA in Wyndmoor PA, in cooperation with research partners, has been initiated to solve these technical problems. The research approaches include 1) development of high-starch, hulless barley varieties specifically bred for ethanol production; 2) development of pre-fermentation barley fractionation processes to remove non-fermentables from hulled and hulless barley to produce a starch-rich feedstock for ethanol production; and 3) use of new beta-glucanases to decrease viscosity of mashes, increase yields of ethanol, and decrease levels of residual beta-glucans in DDGS.