Adding Value to Ethanol Production Byproduct (Distillers Grain) through Production of Biochar and Bio-Oil

United States Department of AgricultureAgricultural Research Service & University of Minnesota/Kurt Spokas, Roger Ruan and Robert Morrison

The goal of this project is to increase the value of distillers grain by sequestering carbon and producing additional renewable energy resources (bio-oil and syngas) through microwave-assisted pyrolysis. This project provides an optimized process for capturing additional bio-energy while producing a potential soil improvement agent. This project examined the potential increase in soil fertility and carbon storage of the biochar produced. The potential long-term outcomes of this research are the development and promotion of on-farm energy production using microwave-assisted pyrolysis and distillers grain as a feedstock, as well as improving the sustainability of corn production through returning carbon to the field.