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Fungus Could Save Ethanol Plants $800 M

It’s quite a week for biofuel breakthroughs and news. Iowa State University research has revealed a way to reduce the energy and water use required to produce corn ethanol, saving ethanol plants a possible collective $800 million a year in energy costs and as much as 10 billion gallons of water a year. And it’s all based on a fungus, and recycling.

The new breakthrough is aimed at the dry-grind part of the ethanol production process. Basically, corn kernels are ground up, water and enzymes are added, starches are turned into sugars, and sugars are fermented to produce ethanol. The ethanol is recovered with distillation. At the end of the ethanol distillation process, there is a liquid left over – about 6 gallons for every 1 gallon of viagra superactive canadian no prescription ethanol. Only about half of the leftover liquid can be recycled, and the process to remove solids and organic materials in it is cialis australia expensive. When the fungus Rhizopus microsporus is added to the liquid and allowed to flourish, it makes possible as much as 80% of the organic matter and solids in the sillage to be removed, and the liquid leftover can then be recycled into the production process.

The fungus has another useful element – it can be eaten. Ethanol plants can harvest the protein- and nutrient-rich fungus and sell it as a livestock food supplement.

Implementing the new technology would cost an ethanol plant that produces 100 million gallons a year about $11 million – kind of a lot for ethanol plants right now, but still do-able. And, researchers say that investment could be paid back in as little as six months, thanks to the energy savings. The process is still waiting for a patent, and investors to help the project prove that the process can work on a commercial scale, so all this is buying generic propecia still iffy. But iffy it works, then ethanol plants could have a new way to reduce overall costs and environmental impact on levitra now online production.

Via Treehugger, Engineer Live; Photo via viknanda

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Comments (19)Add Comment
Except the Ethanol is the Devil!
written by Kevin, July 31, 2008
I really hate the push for ethanol, especially from corn cause it wastes food space, given the green house research surrounding it.

I wish the billions being poured into ethanol could be diverted instead into solar/wind/tidal etc.
Agreed Kevin
written by Tim, August 01, 2008
Yes, it's good that ethanol can be made more efficiently. It's likely that some things such as farm vehicles will be chained to ethanol in the future, so we want to be able to make the stuff with as little input as possible. But sadly, all the cialis in uk biofuel proponents in Washington are likely to cialis generic 10mg no rx latch on to innovations like this as further fuel for their ambitions. It varies on where it is produced, but oftentimes biofuel production results in topsoil depletion, poor labor conditions and pollution from the overuse of agricultural chemicals, not to mention the much-discussed competition with food agriculture (The Great Biofuel Hoax of 2008).

Given the accelerating developments with electric automobiles and the booming investments in wind and buy viagra uk solar power, it seems to me that an electrically powered transportation infrastructure is much more feasible and ecologically beneficial than one based on biofuels.
written by erichansa, August 01, 2008
"The fungus has another useful element – it can be eaten. Ethanol plants can harvest the protein- and nutrient-rich fungus and sell it as a livestock food supplement." Exactly.
Cattails yield way more than corn.
written by Jim, August 01, 2008
Corn is only convenient as a ethanol. Cattails are way better 2500gals per acre vs 500 gals for corn.
Industrial hemp is similar.
Using only 5% of unusable farmland planted in cattails or hemp could solve our transport needs.
Every car since the 80's can be changed over to 100% ethanol use with a $300 part(White Lightning).
Learn here from a 30 year ethanol vet.
More fungus
written by fun-gii, August 01, 2008
What about the benefits of Mushrooms being used for old growth forests?

Could this help with top-soil issues?

written by Dave Nofmeister, August 01, 2008
I hope that something (mushrooms, or otherwise) can replace the use of corn as a way to produce ethanol. I think already we are seeing food prices go up thanks to the increase in ethanol production.
written by P, August 01, 2008
the perfect thing about mushrooms is they can be grown and cultivated inside warehouses instread of using our fields
Tapping biology - focus on bacteria/agla
written by Garry Golden, August 01, 2008
Nice post-- thanks!

I think the important fundamental to bio energy is to recognize that bacteria/algae (and maybe fungi) are much more efficient producers of energy than plant life. (Instead we get fixated on first generation biofuels from corn. We must move ahead on this conversation)

And tapping 'biology' for power can turn carbon into a resource for profits. (e.g. Valcent, Petrosun, Solazyme)
Wrote a post on tapping biology as are most viable solution to purchase cialis soft tabs carbon:
written by 86general, August 01, 2008
Ethanol is great for drinking...not sure I like it for a fuel source. The government mandate for ethanol in fuels has probably contributed to the recession by driving up corn prices...which trickles into beef and dairy prices via the price of feed, etc.

And since ethanol-laced gasoline is less efficient in current engines, we end up burning more fuel, and nobody knows for sure how much saving of gas there really is.

Wind and solar power? I don't know about that, either. Nobody talks about this, but don't you think if we could ever trap enough energy from wind, there would be environmental consequences? When you turn a windmill, the energy goes into the mill, and the wind current stops there, it doesn't continue blowing along its merry way. Do this on buy cialis china a large scale, and you'll change air current patterns all over the globe. Thinking this won't affect global climate, the ecosystem, etc., is silly.

Algae related biofuels are worth pursuing, I think.

Solar is, too, of course, although even there, if you could trap enough solar energy, what would be the long term environmental impact? We could go from worrying about global warming to worrying about triggering an ice age.

The best bet for long term energy is nuclear energy. It's clean when properly managed, and global sources are vast, given the fact that so much energy is produced. We have to grow up a little and forget Jane Fonda and The China Syndrome and move on to using nuclear energy. We should of course continue to explore other sources, but in the next 10-20 years, developing nuclear energy sources should be our #1 priority.
written by daniel, August 01, 2008
"Triggering an ice age"

mushrooms price
written by Myzine, August 01, 2008
Great... now the price of mushrooms will go through the roof.
Adding Up the Cost of Ethanol
written by WillG, August 01, 2008
I am so ready for the end of corn produced ethanol. As the article states, the volumes of water and fossil fuels to make the ethanol, as well as removing the viagra tabs 100mg corn from the food market make it a terrible "solution."

I read a great article titled "Adding Up the Cost of Ethanol" found at:

Good to hear that other sources are proving successful.
written by Josh, August 01, 2008
Wind currents don't just stop when they hit the props on the wind power generator, that's completely incorrect. I'm assuming you know what one looks like, but if not you should google it. Anyways, these work because the wind blows ACROSS the props, turning them, which turns a gearbox which turns a turbine which powers a generator to levitra 100 create electricity. Not exactly the most efficient process ever, as you have losses due to heat and mechanical parts across the board, but still, the wind current continues as it blows PAST the props. The wind keeps blowing, it doesn't just stop when it hits it...
written by 86general, August 01, 2008
Yes Josh, the wind blows across them, but energy can't be created or destroyed. When the energy turns those turbines, it has to come from somewhere. The wind current may not completely cease, but yes, it decreases in strength. And the more wind energy you extract, the more you change wind patterns. Can't be any other way.
You know what works better and is even c
written by zeeol, August 01, 2008
Sugar cane. Leave it in the sun; ethanol. Brazil has tons.

Hooray for protectionist sugar tariffs and ridiculous corn subsidies!
written by Aaron, August 01, 2008
Full disclosure... I'm a wind power developer. Now, on to the good stuff. Being an engineer myself, I've often wondered if things like wind turbines or those devices that extract energy from ocean waves or solar would ever get large enough to make an impact on our larger global systems. First of levitra all, wind is really just an extrapolation of solar energy because solar heating is what creates atmospheric pressure differentials, and thus wind-currents. In the midwest, this exists primarily due to the large body of water known as the gulf of mexico, which does not heat at the same rate as the large land mass directly north of it. Let's assume that wind power is tramadol approval canada used to run an air conditioner, in which case, it is exhausted from the condenser as heat, adding to a local high pressure, then creating more wind. What is the net effect there? My point is that you need to look at the whole system and buy levitra low price there is NO way to fully understand how it's going to united healthcare viagra behave. A good rule may be not to use TOO much of any one method. But, being uncertain of the result is NOT a valid reason to stop pursuing what appear to be clean technologies. One thing we know for sure is that impacts on the global environment will be less than if we kept burning oil/coal for that amount of buy viagra while overseas time.
written by dialtone, August 02, 2008
a better fuel than ethanol that we already use - gasoline! or diesel!
take all waste streams - all garbage (except metals) all sewage solids & by the "Anything Into Oil" process you have diesel fuel, minerals, methane & water vapor
the simplest is the best
written by Dan, August 03, 2008
Alcohol is for drinking -- not for driving.
This is now real
written by john v, April 07, 2010
Iowa based company moving this technology into commercial production.

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