Fermentation technology to improve productivity in dry grind corn process for bioethanol production

Deepak Kumar, Ankita Juneja, Vijay Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High solid fermentation during bioethanol production is a promising process engineering strategy to reduce total energy use and water requirements, and to improve productivity. However, ethanol toxicity at higher concentrations restricts the corn solids to 30–32% (w/w) during dry grind corn ethanol process. This work, using in situ ethanol removal, results in two big improvements in the fermentation process: 1) achieve complete fermentation of high solids slurries (up to 42%) at typical commercial enzyme dosages, and 2) fasten the fermentation process for currently used process with 32% solids. Application of vacuum at optimal times during fermentation (1 h at 12, 24, 36, and 48 h) of 40% corn solids resulted in complete fermentation, compared to about 12% residual glucose in the conventional process. The ethanol yield of 0.42 L/kg of dry corn with about 80% ethanol conversion efficiency was 88% higher than that of the conventional process at 42% solids (0.22 L/kg dry corn). Application of 1.5 h of vacuum at 18 and 24 h of fermentation with 32% solids resulted in high fermentation rates and decreased the fermentation time by more than 50%. Shorter fermentation times can allow processing of more material with the same equipment and allow smaller fermentation tanks in new plants, which would lead to both, lower capital and operating cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalFuel Processing Technology
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Bioethanol
  • Ethanol inhibition
  • Fermentation rate
  • High solid fermentation
  • Vacuum stripping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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