This research will enable efficient and environmentally sound utilization of ethanol blends in internal combustion engines. Future engines may play a supporting role in electrified vehicles by serving as battery charging range extender (REx) engine-generators. This project will use E85 and lower concentration ethanol/gasoline blends and a novel exhaust reforming strategy to increase the efficiency of REx engines. The proposed system utilizes the waste heat from an engine to reform a portion of the incoming fuel to a fuel mixture that has higher caloric value in a process known as thermochemical recuperation (TCR).
Research Category: Corn Utilization
The economic value of traditional cash crops are enhanced by finding new uses in diversified products. Such applications are particularly effective in enhancing health, nutrition and disease prevention. Considerable potential exists for the recovery of useful moieties from the waste streams and co products of corn processing. Major constituents recovered as feed and food ingredients from corn are protein and dietary fiber, both of which are beneficial for animals and humans. The latter was the focus of a previous study by PI Krishnan.
This project seeks to advance progression from fundamental discoveries to practical technologies in the area of biobased products derived from corn. Our target materials are polyesters, because these hold tremendous promise as next generation sustainable plastics. We have identified six collaborative research projects that integrate the collective expertise of the investigators. In short, we will:
(1) utilize branched bottlebrush and graft block copolymers containing polylactide (PLA) and a rubbery polyester as additives for commercial and corn-derived PLA for the purpose of enhancing the ability to melt blow clear and mechanically robust films for packaging applications;
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.
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.
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.