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Distillers' dried grains with solubles (DDGS)-A key to the fuel ethanol industry by ProQuest

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[...] 20 plants are currently under construction or are undergoing expansion, all of which will contribute an additional 1.8 billion gallons/yr (6.8 billion liters/yr). Because of the dynamics of the free market economy, the growing quantity of co-products that will be produced as me industry continues to expand may substantially influence the future of die industry.

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									         inform December 2009, Vol. 20 (12) 789
                                                                                                      Processing


       Distillers’ dried grains with
       solubles (DDGS)—A key to
       the fuel ethanol industry
       Kurt A. Rosentrater

       Modern societies face many challenges, includ-
       ing growing populations and increasing demands
       for food, clothing, housing, and consumer goods
       and for the concomitant raw materials and energy
       required to produce all of these. Additionally, there
       is an overwhelming reliance on fossil fuels for
       energy. Transportation fuel accounted for 28% of
       all energy consumed in the United States during
       2008, 95% of which came from petroleum sources.
       And domestic production of crude oil was 4.96                         FIG. 1. A typical dry-grind corn-to-ethanol manufacturing plant.

       million barrels per day, whereas imports were 9.76
                                                                             studies include Kaltschmitt et al. (1997), Kim and Dale (2004),
       million barrels per day (nearly two-thirds of the                     Pimentel and Patzek (2005), Shapouri et al. (2003), and Sheehan
       total US demand).                                                     et al. (2004). Farrell et al. (2006) presented a thorough review
            Biofuels, which are renewable sources of energy, can help        and synthesis of this debate. However, new questions have arisen,
       meet some of these increasing needs. Potentially, they can be pro-    including water consumption and land use change. Answers are
       duced from a variety of biomass materials, including agricultural     now being developed.
       residues, corn stover, grasses, and legumes. Cur-
       rently, however, corn grain is the most heavily
       used feedstock in the United States, because
       alcohol production from corn is readily accom-
       plished at a lower cost compared to other biomass
       substrates. The corn-based fuel ethanol industry
       is well poised to help extend and augment the
       nation’s supply of transportation fuels. And, over
       the last decade, many innovations have occurred
       in the industry, not only in production processes
       used and final products produced but also in terms
       of optimizing raw materials and energy consumed.
       Due to many advantages, including lower capital
       and operating costs (including energy inputs),
       most new ethanol plants are dry grind facilities
       (Fig. 1), as opposed to the older style wet mills
       (see also inform 18:658–660, 2007).
            Questions regarding the energy balance of
       ethanol, especially about resource and energy
       inputs and outputs, economics, impacts of manu-
       facture, and the performance of ethanol in vehi-     FIG. 2. Trends in production of fuel ethanol and generation of DDGS (distillers dried
       cles, have led to many Life Cycle Assessment         grains with solubles). RFS denotes the mandate due to the Renewable Fuel Standard
       studies to examine the overall costs and benefits    (adapted from Renewable Fuels Association, Washington, DC, 2009; available online
       of this biofuel. Examples of the more prominent      at www.ethanolrfa.org)




DEC 09 INFORM.indd 789                                                                                                                    12/2/09 3:15:59 PM
                                                                                                  790 inform December 2009, Vol. 20 (12)


            To help meet the demand for more
       motor fuel, the number of US ethanol
       plants has risen rapidly in the past 15
       years, as has the quantity of fuel ethanol
       produced (Fig. 2). As of July 2009, 197
       manufacturing plants in the United States
       have an aggregate production capacity
       of over 12.7 billion gallons/year (48.1
       billion liters/yr). Moreover, 20 plants
       are currently under construction or are
       undergoing expansion, all of which
       will contribute an additional 1.8 billion
       gallons/yr (6.8 billion liters/yr). As pro-
       duction volume increases, the processing
       residues (known a
								
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