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Title: Sweet Sorghum Alternative Fuel and Feed Pilot Project

Abstract

The University of Arizona undertook a “pilot” project to grow sweet sorghum on a field scale (rather than a plot scale), produce juice from the sweet sorghum, deliver the juice to a bio-refinery and process it to fuel-grade ethanol. We also evaluated the bagasse for suitability as a livestock feed and as a fuel. In addition to these objectives we evaluated methods of juice preservation, ligno-cellulosic conversion of the bagasse to fermentable sugars and alternative methods of juice extraction.

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States). Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Dept.
  2. Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Contributing Org.:
Pinal Energy, LLC, Maricopa, AZ (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
1344379
Report Number(s):
DOE-UAZ-0004132-1
DOE Contract Number:
EE0004132
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS

Citation Formats

Slack, Donald C., and Kaltenbach, C. Colin. Sweet Sorghum Alternative Fuel and Feed Pilot Project. United States: N. p., 2013. Web. doi:10.2172/1344379.
Slack, Donald C., & Kaltenbach, C. Colin. Sweet Sorghum Alternative Fuel and Feed Pilot Project. United States. doi:10.2172/1344379.
Slack, Donald C., and Kaltenbach, C. Colin. Tue . "Sweet Sorghum Alternative Fuel and Feed Pilot Project". United States. doi:10.2172/1344379. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1344379.
@article{osti_1344379,
title = {Sweet Sorghum Alternative Fuel and Feed Pilot Project},
author = {Slack, Donald C. and Kaltenbach, C. Colin},
abstractNote = {The University of Arizona undertook a “pilot” project to grow sweet sorghum on a field scale (rather than a plot scale), produce juice from the sweet sorghum, deliver the juice to a bio-refinery and process it to fuel-grade ethanol. We also evaluated the bagasse for suitability as a livestock feed and as a fuel. In addition to these objectives we evaluated methods of juice preservation, ligno-cellulosic conversion of the bagasse to fermentable sugars and alternative methods of juice extraction.},
doi = {10.2172/1344379},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Jul 30 00:00:00 EDT 2013},
month = {Tue Jul 30 00:00:00 EDT 2013}
}

Technical Report:

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  • A preliminary study, involving the evaluation of a new revolutionary process for preparation of sugar cane and separation of its components is presented. The primary objective of the study was to determine whether this cane separation process, and the equipment involved therein, had substantial merit for greater utilization of biomass for production of fuel and energy and specifically the ''Fuels from Sugar Crops'' program, including sugar cane, sweet sorghum, and other plant stalks. The report describes the historical background of the development of this process from 1964 to the present time; potential advantages of the process to the sugar industrymore » and to the DOE Program on ''Fuels from Sugar Crops''; the technical status of the process at the present time; marketing and research efforts now underway; and an evaluation of the prospects of success in perfecting the process and of its being economically sound. Comments are included on the physical structure of the sugar cane stalk and its components which render this process particularly applicable to this plant and related plants. Comments are also given on present sugar cane processing methods and the quality of the bagasse residue resulting from these methods as compared to the quality of the three solid components; namely, pith, rind fiber, and epidermis which result from the cane separation process. Specific recommendations are given for both short-term action and long-term actions relative to further studies to determine the full potential for this process and its possible contribution to the success of the DOE ''Fuels from Sugar Crops'' program.« less
  • Manufacturers of land clearing equipment, land leveling, ditching machinery, mold board plows, and lister plows are listed. A combined list of manufacturers of sugar cane tillage equipment is presented. Lists of manufacturers are included for the following types of equipment: planting, irrigation, spraying equipment, aerial application spraying and dusting equipment, power units, harvesting, loaders, and transport units. Methods of mechanical harvesting sugarcane and sweet sorghum grown from improved planting and production treatments are evaluated. Commercial mechanical systems available for harvesting maximum sugarcane biomass in the sugar production areas of the United States. (MHR)
  • The following are discussed: economic and agronomic implications of commercial growers' sweet sorghum field tests, economics of sweet sorghum production, marketing and market organization concepts, and the effect of water availability upon potential increased production of sugar crops in Southern Florida and the Texas Rio Grande Valley. (MHR)
  • An interregional experimental agricultural task was undertaken to evaluate biomass and sugar yields of sweet sorghum using similar cultural practices. Climatic conditions varied from North Dakota to southern Texas and Florida having respective frost-free days of 121 and 300. Maximum yields obtained in 1978 and 1979 at the various experimental locations ranged from 12.0 to 40.5 t/ha for dry biomass and from 2.9 to 13.2 t/ha for total sugars. Assuming 582 1 of ethanol can be produced per metric ton of sugars, equivalent ethanol yields range from 1688 to 7682 1/ha. In addition to sweet sorghum, new sorghum hybrids, male-sterilemore » corn, and sugarcane were investigated as potential sugar-stalk crops for producing ethanol from fermentation.« less
  • An extensive analysis is made of the technical and economic feasibility of producing fuels and chemicals from the sugar crops (sugar cane, sweet sorghum, and sugar beets). It is concluded that ethanol and ammonia are the most promising products. Ethanol produced by fermentation on juice or molasses is close to economic competitiveness. The ammonia cost is not yet competitive but could be competitive with coal-produced ammonia. Sugar cane appears to be the most promising crop in the short and intermediate term; sweet sorghum has the greatest long-range appeal. The development of processes to manufacture ammonia, methanol, acetic acid, and thermochemicalmore » substitute natural gas (SNG) from sugar crop residues depends on technology to generate synthesis gas. Anaerobic digestion of sugar cane or juices to SNG is not attractive on economic grounds. The agricultural aspects of sugar crops research are summarized. Energy balances of input/output are derived for sugar cane and sugar beets. Recommendations are made for USDOE actions and policy decisions. (JSR)« less