Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Friday, July 27, 2012

NCERC converts corn bran to fuel for first time in history
Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 9:00 am
by David Pruitt

On July 16 and 17, John Caupert, director of SIUE’s National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center, met with USDA officials about a new process the NCERC has discovered to use corn more efficiently in the production of ethanol.

“I had the opportunity to meet with a cabinet-level official, Dr. Cathie Wotecki, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary,” Caupert said. “The purpose of the meeting was to talk about a technological breakthrough in cellulosic ethanol that was made in this building in May of this year.”

The breakthrough is a mechanical process that separates each corn kernel into three pieces and utilizes the non-edible portion of the kernel. This portion is the kernel’s bran, which consists of cellulose rather than starch. Until this point, the bran has been a waste product of the process.

“This is not a food. There is no trade-off here. It’s not that food versus fuel debate,” Caupert said. “It is the first time in history that corn bran has been converted into fuel.”

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