Carnegie Mellon University
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Energy, water and process technologies integration for the simultaneous production of ethanol and food from the entire corn plant

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journal contribution
posted on 2010-10-01, 00:00 authored by Lidija Cucek, Mariano Martin, Ignacio E. Grossmann, Zdravko Kravanja

This paper presents simultaneous integration of different technologies such as the traditional dry-grind process to obtain ethanol from grain with the gasification of the corn stover followed by either syngas fermentation or catalytic mixed alcohols synthesis. The optimal integrated process when using the entire corn plant (18 kg/s of grain and 10.8 kg/s of stover) is the one in which the dry-grind technology to process corn grain is integrated with the catalytic path for the corn stover due to the improved integration of energy, requiring only 17 MW of energy, 50 MW of cooling and 1.56 gal/gal of freshwater, for an ethanol production cost of 1.22 $/gal. However, the production cost decreases as we only use stover to produce ethanol, while the grain is used for food due to the lower cost of the stover and the more favorable energy balance of the ethanol production process from gasification.


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