Converting Sweet Sorghum to Ethanol - An Alternative Feedstock for Renewable Fuels

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/271930
Title:
Converting Sweet Sorghum to Ethanol - An Alternative Feedstock for Renewable Fuels
Author:
Waters, Heather
Issue Date:
2012
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
The goal of this project was to design an ethanol production process from sweet sorghum for use as a renewable fuel. Sorghum stalks are first harvested and sent through a series of 2 three-roller extractors (70% total efficiency). Extracted juice is pumped to the reactor for preservation and fermentation. Sodium metabisulfite preserves the juice. Ethanol Red (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is the fermentation yeast. Following fermentation, the juice (8% ethanol by mass) is distilled to achieve 90% ethanol. A molecular sieve extracts excess water, resulting in 100% ethanol. Plant wastes accumulate during the process. These wastes are collected, dried, and sold as animal feed for profit. The project economics indicate that the overall process is not currently economically feasible. The net present value (NPV) for the optimum economic situation, assuming a 15 year plant lifetime and 15% interest rate, is -$125 M. Under these circumstances, the ethanol would need to be sold at $44.37 per gallon to break even. To improve this process, further development of methods for increasing juice extraction efficiency should be explored. Additionally, the distillation process could be enhanced with a second distillation column to achieve 95% ethanol prior to using the molecular sieve.
Type:
text; Electronic Thesis
Degree Name:
B.S.
Degree Level:
bachelors
Degree Program:
Honors College; Chemical Engineering
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleConverting Sweet Sorghum to Ethanol - An Alternative Feedstock for Renewable Fuelsen_US
dc.creatorWaters, Heatheren_US
dc.contributor.authorWaters, Heatheren_US
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThe goal of this project was to design an ethanol production process from sweet sorghum for use as a renewable fuel. Sorghum stalks are first harvested and sent through a series of 2 three-roller extractors (70% total efficiency). Extracted juice is pumped to the reactor for preservation and fermentation. Sodium metabisulfite preserves the juice. Ethanol Red (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is the fermentation yeast. Following fermentation, the juice (8% ethanol by mass) is distilled to achieve 90% ethanol. A molecular sieve extracts excess water, resulting in 100% ethanol. Plant wastes accumulate during the process. These wastes are collected, dried, and sold as animal feed for profit. The project economics indicate that the overall process is not currently economically feasible. The net present value (NPV) for the optimum economic situation, assuming a 15 year plant lifetime and 15% interest rate, is -$125 M. Under these circumstances, the ethanol would need to be sold at $44.37 per gallon to break even. To improve this process, further development of methods for increasing juice extraction efficiency should be explored. Additionally, the distillation process could be enhanced with a second distillation column to achieve 95% ethanol prior to using the molecular sieve.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Thesisen_US
thesis.degree.nameB.S.en_US
thesis.degree.levelbachelorsen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineHonors Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineChemical Engineeringen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
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