Researcher Blake Simmons believes his new non-toxic ethanol technology could reduce ethanol production to just one step, as well as using the process to convert distillers dried grains into biofuels, according to an article by Illinois Farmer Today (http://bit.ly/…).
Simmons has been working for nine years, to develop "high-gravity" one-pot production, funded by the U.S. BioEnergy Institute in California.
The method, refined in the past 18 months, uses one process that pre-treats, hydrolizes and ferments biomass without any separation of byproducts. The new technology involves less time and water and can also utilize other materials such as crop residue or grasses.
Simmons said that the new process uses powerful solvents, ionic liquids, which dissolve biomass into sugars for the production of biofuels. These ionic liquids increase biomass digestibility, exceeding current production distillation levels for ethanol production.
The new technology is envisioned as a component to be added to current ethanol production facilities while continuing traditional ethanol production methods, Simmons said. He expects the process to be available on a commercial scale within five to six years.
Simmons said his research on the project includes using the new process to convert DDG to biofuel, thereby using all the carbon found in plant material and increasing efficiency.
Cheryl Anderson can be reached at Cheryl.firstname.lastname@example.org
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