Research Category: Corn Utilization

Corn-derived Materials: Isoprene/Rubber and Toughened Poly(lactide)

University of Minnesota/Dr. Marc Hillmyer, Dr. Paul Dauenhauer, Dr. Frank Bates

In the Dauenhauer group the proposed work aims to evaluate the catalytic conversion of sugar to isoprene using thermochemical solid-acid catalysts. Glucose obtained from corn can be reacted to the intermediate itaconic acid, which is hydrogenated to 3-methyl-tetrahydrofuran (3-MTHF). 3-MTHF then undergoes catalytic dehydra-decyclization to form isoprene product and water. In this work, the reaction to produce isoprene will be evaluated using all-silica solid acid catalysts, with the objective of maximizing yield and process economics for producing isoprene.

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Value-Added Materials from Corn Stover

University of Minnesota/Marc Hillmyer

Our overall goal in this project is the utilization of abundant and readily available organic chemicals derived from corn stover for the preparation of new polymeric materials through the discovery of novel chemical transformations. Polymerization of reactive monomers to produce materials having versatile properties and applications is the backbone of the polymer and plastics industry. The discovery of unique polymerizable monomers and of new methods for polymerization using corn-derived chemicals will lead to novel materials having unique and useful properties.

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Food Grade DDG for Human Consumption– Value Enhancement of a Corn Co-Product

South Dakota State University/Padmanaban Krishnan

The purpose of this study is commercial development of Food Grade Distillers Grains. New food grade ethanol plants have come on-line in recent years and are a significant development since there is now an even greater need for new markets and new applications for a co-product of ethanol production. The goal of the research is to use part of the stream in ethanol plants for the production of wholesome dried distillers grains (DDG) that meet the specifications of a food ingredient.

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