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Research Project: Developing Technologies that Enable Growth and Profitability in the Commercial Conversion of Sugarcane, Sweet Sorghum, and Energy Beets into Sugar, Advanced Biofuels, and Bioproducts

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

Title: The new large-scale sweet sorghum industry in the USA

item HECKEMEYER, MATTHEW - Heckemeyer Mill
item Eggleston, Gillian
item HECKEMEYER, ANTHONY - Heckemeyer Mill

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/7/2016
Publication Date: 6/22/2017
Citation: Heckemeyer, M., Eggleston, G., Heckemeyer, A.J. 2017. The new large-scale sweet sorghum industry in the USA. In: Proceedings for the Advances in Sugar Crop Processing and Conversion Conference, March 15-18, 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana. p. 33-43.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) has been widely recognized as a promising sugar feedstock crop for the large-scale manufacture of food-grade and non food-grade bioproducts in the USA. Heckemeyer Mill, located in Sikeston, Missouri, has built and equipped the largest, commercial-scale sweet sorghum processing plant in the USA that became fully operational in 2016. The plant is currently capable of crushing up to 45 tons/h and producing at least 8,000 gal of juice per day. Business aims include the production of food-grade syrup and potable alcohol, as well as syrup for the manufacture of non-food grade biofuels and biochemicals. All non-processed fiber is dedicated for large-scale cattle feed at the Heckemeyer farm, with the possibility of incorporating it into particle board. Other processing by-products include seed-heads, juice sediment, and clarification mud, which are rich sources of starch. It is a future goal of Heckemeyer Mill to recycle the by-products into fermentation tanks to augment fermentation yields once technology has been developed and optimized. This paper discusses the development of the Mill, with strategic partnerships to overcome technical problems and address the needs of the marketplace. An up-to-date processing scheme for the plant is also described. Technical needs still exist for the expansion of this new large-scale industry, and these are also discussed.