Nutrient recovery from the dry grind process using sequential micro and ultrafiltration of thin stillage

Amit Arora, Bruce S. Dien, Ronald L. Belyea, Vijay Singh, M. E. Tumbleson, Kent D. Rausch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effectiveness of microfiltration (MF) and ultrafiltration (UF) for nutrient recovery from a thin stillage stream was determined. When a stainless steel MF membrane (0.1 μm pore size) was used, the content of solids increased from 7.0% to 22.8% with a mean permeate flux rate of 45 L/m2/h (LMH), fat increased and ash content decreased. UF experiments were conducted in batch mode under constant temperature and flow rate conditions. Permeate flux profiles were evaluated for regenerated cellulose membranes (YM1, YM10 and YM100) with molecular weight cut offs of 1, 10 and 100 kDa. UF increased total solids, protein and fat and decreased ash in retentate stream. When permeate streams from MF were subjected to UF, retentate total solids concentrations similar to those of commercial syrup (23-28.8%) were obtained. YM100 had the highest percent permeate flux decline (70% of initial flux) followed by YM10 and YM1 membranes. Sequential filtration improved permeate flux rates of the YM100 membrane (32.6-73.4 LMH) but the percent decline was also highest in a sequential MF + YM100 system. Protein recovery was the highest in YM1 retentate. Removal of solids, protein and fat from thin stillage may generate a permeate stream that may improve water removal efficiency and increase water recycling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3859-3863
Number of pages5
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Corn
  • Ethanol
  • Membrane filtration
  • Thin stillage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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