I hope this message finds each and every one of you doing well.
Research & Technical Activities
- The NCERC conducted an advanced biofuels client trial which took up the first half of the month. We experienced very good results for this five-fermenter trial and the Client was so happy they have expressed interest in returning in 2011 to refine the experimental conditions.
- The NCERC has been conducting a corn kernel fiber project under our USDA Specific Cooperative Agreement. We have preliminary results on pretreatment from NCAUR-Peoria as well as complete compositional results from both NCERC and NCAUR; the pretreated solutions will arrive in the next few weeks to NCERC where characterization and mass balance work will take place. The next step is to narrow down the enzyme cocktail and think about scaling up. The thoughts on scaling up also involve a possible NCERC plant trial in FY 2012 as part of ‘phase 2’ of the project (contingent on funding). More generally, for our corn fiber work, we are putting together a comprehensive summary of all the work that has been done thus far at NCERC. We hope to have this in a format that is suitable for publication and/or presentation to some major conference (e.g. FEW or a biomass symposium somewhere) as soon as possible.
- The NCERC has been evaluating an automated yeast cell counter on behalf of a private sector industry client. Phase I of the project has been completed and reported and we are now compiling data on Phase II. We are collaborating with private sector scientists to find out a better method or a better reagent to deal with yeast counting issues that were brought up by our project.
- The NCERC has completed a private sector industry client HPLC collaborative study and final report has been submitted and accepted. This study is projected to be an annual round robin study.
- The NCERC has been conducting analysis and fermentations on damaged corn originating from the 2009 corn crop. This controversial subject matter includes fermentation of damaged corn as well as analysis for mycotoxins. More than 50 corn samples, representing different geographic regions of the country have been evaluated in these projects.
- The NCERC, in a project funded by DOE, has gathered 20 DDGS samples from 10 plants. Data has been generated on AOM, OSI, acidity and Iodine Value’s.
- The NCERC has been conducting a project to study the fate of lysine and phytate during DDGS production. One manuscript on furosine and lysine in DDGS is in final review stage before submission, and another manuscript focusing on phosphorus speciation change during corn to ethanol production is in preparation.
- The NCERC, in a project funded by AOCS, is comparing various hydrolysis procedures for amino acid testing in animal feed. Animal feed samples from the AAFCO Check Program and NIST amino acid food standard have been shipped to eight laboratory participants.
- The NCERC, in a project funded by a commodity group, is studying the antioxidants and lipids in DDGS. Samples will be processed and tested for antioxidant capacity.
- Dr. Yan Zhang (Asst. Director of Analytical Research) was invited by the journal of Industrial Crops and Products to review a manuscript on lipid in DDGS submitted to this journal.
Pilot Plant and Facility Updates:
- Corn Fractionation – Early Site Preparation: Bids for the Early Site Preparation Work were received. Next Step will be SIU BOT approval at the December 9th board meeting.
- Corn Fractionation – Facilities and Process Installation: Detailed engineering design for the facilities and process installation package is underway to be completed by mid November 2010. Bidding for Facilities and Process Installation package will start at the end of November 2010.
- Fermenter Pumps: All five pumps were sent back to the manufacturer to repair a manufacturing defect. Pumps should be returned by November 12th.
- Laboratory Fume Hoods: Detailed design by Burns & McDonnell is underway.
Outreach and Community Activities
October 4 – 8: A week highlighted by ethanol co-products:
- NCERC hosted Illinois Corn Growers Association and a visiting team of DDGS buyers representing Central America Monday October 4.
- John Caupert (Director) and Dr. Yan Zhang (Asst. Director of Analytical Research) traveled to Chicago, IL to attend and participate in the DDGS Export Exchange (RFA and USGC).
- NCERC hosted NCGA Vice President Garry Niemeyer and a visiting team of Chinese business persons to discuss production and utilization of PLA’s.
October 11 – 15: A week highlighted by advanced biofuels:
- John Caupert (Director) attended and was a guest speaker at the Corn Based Biorefinery Symposium organized and held at University of Illinois.
- October 13 – 15, John Caupert (Director) and Dr. Yan Zhang (Asst. Director of Analytical Research) traveled to Iowa State University to hold collaboration meetings with the Director of the Bioeconomy Institute and the Director of the BioCentury Research Farm. While on campus John Caupert (Director) conducted a seminar series.
October 18 – 22: A week highlighted by workforce training:
- Stephanie Regagnon (Asst. Director of Commercialization) traveled to Western Illinois University to discuss and interview students interested in the collaborative Faculty Assistant program sponsored at the NCERC by Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (WIU).
Until next time, have a good, productive and safe month.
John Caupert, Director National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center
Phone: 618-659-6737 Ext 226