Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2007
Publication Date: 4/11/2008
Citation: Rosentrater, K.A. 2008. Ethanol processing coproducts - economics, impacts, sustainability. Proceedings from National Agricultural Biotechnology Council's 19th Annual Conference, Brookings SD, May 22-24, 2007, pp.105-126.
Technical Abstract: The production of corn-based ethanol in the U.S. is dramatically increasing; as is the quantity of coproducts generated from this processing sector. These streams are primarily utilized as livestock feed, which is a route that provides ethanol processors with a substantial revenue source and significantly increases the profitability of the production process. With the construction of many new plants in recent years, it is imperative to augment current uses and to find new outlets for these materials, in order to maintain the economic viability of this industry. Known collectively as distillers grains, these process residuals have much potential for value-added processing and utilization in other sectors, but barriers currently exist. The goal of this article is to discuss five such constraints and opportunities: storability and handling, value-added livestock and other animal feed use, human food use, nontraditional processing into manufactured products, and potential use as sources of bioenergy. Addressing these issues will be essential to the growth of the industry, both in terms of developing new and refined methods for storing and handling these materials, and in identifying and developing new market opportunities for these coproduct materials. Ultimately, alleviating these constraints and pursuing these new possibilities will improve manufacturing economics and can augment the viability of the corn-based fuel ethanol industry.