Ethanol Process

January 15, 1994

There is an interesting end use intended for a VP-6 press recently delivered by Vincent Corporation. It will be used in Gainesville, Florida as part of a pilot plant to produce ethanol alcohol.

The process to be refined in the pilot plant involves using a genetically engineered and patented bacteria. This unique e-coli bacteria is capable of digesting C-5 sugars.

The raw material in the process is stover. This is nothing more than chopped corn stalks and corn husks. Stover contains the hemi-cellulose sugar molecular structure known as C-5.

The first step of the process is to release the C-5 sugars through hydrolysis. Hydrolysis simply involves tumbling the stover in a pressure vessel for half an hour with 150 psi steam.

In the pilot plant the hydrolyzed stover will be run through the Vincent press. This will separate out the C-5 hydrolysate, or press liquor, so that it can be placed in a fermentation vessel. The fermentation will produce a 4% ethanol solution which can subsequently be distilled into 200 proof alcohol.

The fermentation of C-5 is possible only with a special genetically engineered bacteria. This microbe was developed and patented by the University of Florida. Vincent's client, Bioenergy Inc., has been granted an exclusive license to use this bacteria.

Save your corn stalks!

Issue 9