Towards integrated biorefinery from dried distillers grains: Evaluation of feed application for Co-products

Significance Statement

Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research


In collaboration with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, University of Louisville established the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering in 2009 to lead Kentucky’s research efforts in renewable energy research and sustainability issues. The Conn Center provides leadership, research, support and policy development in renewable energy; advances the goal of renewable energy; and promotes technologies, practices, and programs that increase efficiency for energy utilization in homes, businesses and public buildings. To accomplish these objectives, the Conn Center conducts and facilitates R&D on potentially commercializable renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The center’s scientific and technical thrusts are devoted to the following areas: Advanced Energy Materials Manufacturing and Characterization; Solar Energy Conversion; Power Electronics; Energy Storage; Biofuels/Biomass Conversions; and Energy Efficiency. The center employs top-notch scientists and engineers as theme leaders for directing these research efforts and to enable collaborations with faculty researchers and industry partners across the state.  The center’s main objective is to foster development of transformational concepts and accelerate the translation of technology concepts from the lab to pre-commercial scale via large-scale device prototyping. Through innovative R&D at an accelerated pace and development of Kentucky’s workforce and renewable resources, the center’s ongoing goal is to seek outcomes that enhance global energy security, maintain US technological leadership, and improve high-tech manufacturing activity in Kentucky. The Conn Center facilitates the exchange of expertise and interest for Kentucky institutions and industries interested in renewable energy and energy efficiency to develop clean, reliable, affordable energy sources that improve our energy security, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and provide economic prosperity.  The Conn Center’s Biofuels & Biomass Conversion theme is headed by Sr. Research Engineer Jagannadh Satyavolu, PhD. The main R&D focus of the Biofuels theme is to develop economically viable and sustainable technologies, processes, and integrated solutions for cost competitive production of bio-based fuels, chemicals, and other value-added products through the conversion of non-food, lignocellulosic biomass. Some example current projects are: development of C5-based biorefinery, chemical synthesis of C5 sugars to high energy density biofuels, value added co-products from residual biomass, torrefaction of wood and non-wood biomass, and conversion of lignin to chemicals.

Journal Reference

Biomass and Bioenergy, Volume 72, Jan 2015, Pages 251-255. Robert Lupitskyy1, Charles Staff2, Jagannadh Satyavolu1.

  1. Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA and
  2. Distillers Grain Technology Council, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA.


In this paper, we presented an integrated C5-based biorefinery concept to produce C5-platform of biofuels and biochemicals using corn fiber from Dried Distillers Grains (DDG). The process utilizes a selective hydrolysis process to generate a xylose-rich hydrolyzate stream and two co-product streams: fine fraction generated during mechanical pretreatment of DDG using Mesh 20 sieve and residual fiber after hydrolysis. Utilization of these two co-product streams is critical to the success of the biorefinery. This paper discusses how the two streams are generated, their composition, and their potential value in animal feed applications. Composition analysis of the first co-product stream showed that it is enriched in proteins compared to original DDG (11% higher crude protein content; 36% higher lysine content). The second co-product stream has 113% higher fat content compared to original DDG, as well as 15% higher total digestible nutrients, and 15% higher digestible energy. The results of this study suggest that these co-product side streams can be potentially applied as additives in animal feed, allowing for cost-effective utilization of DDG for bio-products without negatively impacting feed markets associated with DDG.


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