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Iowa Researchers Use Ultrasonics for Improved Biofuel Production

David Grewell, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR) and BioCentury Research Farm affiliate, and his research team are using ultrasound to enhance chemical reactions of biomass from a raw feedstock to high-value fuels and chemicals. Grewell evaluated the use of ultrasonics to pretreat corn in preparation for fermentation. In a conventional dry-grind corn ethanol plant, ground corn is steamed in jet cookers, and with the addition of enzymes, the starch is converted to glucose for fermentation. In Grewell’s method, the ultrasonics break down corn into very small particles, giving the enzymes more surface to convert the starch into sugars that serve as food for the yeast. Their experiments have shown that when corn was pretreated with ultrasound waves, fermentation yields were comparable to jet cooking.

Grewell’s latest research is focused on using ultrasonics to process lignocellulosic biomass for ethanol production.

Apart from the above applications, Grewell also investigates the use of  ultrasonic waves  for welding plastics, to improve or create biobased plastics and composites and to enhance the release of oils from these microbes for processing into biodiesel. Source:http://bit.ly/15AZtGl

Thu June 27 2013 12:04:47 PM by Sindhuja Ultrasonics  |  Sound Waves  |  Iowa State University 1404 views
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