(566f) Biofuel Ethanol Industry Co-Product: New Applications
Biofuel ethanol industry has been growing during the last decade due to the global awareness on necessity of using clean and renewable energy. Consequently, its major co-product, dried distillers’ grains with solubles (DDGS), has experienced a rapid upward trend in production which far exceeds its traditional application as animal feed. Therefore, researches are going on to find novel sustainable outlets for DDGS to help ethanol industry viability.
Dried distillers’ grains with solubles, when used as a particulate filler in producing green polymeric matrix composites, can help to improve the mechanical performance due to its composition containing fibre, protein and lipid; but also it may bring along added advantages to the picture such as reducing the cost and improving the compostability of the final product. To produce such a green composite, we integrated DDGS treatment and compatibilization chemistry together with melt compounding of DDGS with biodegradable plastics. DDGS treatment prior to processing resulted in an improved processability, and the affinity between DDGS and the biopolymeric matrix was enhanced with utilizing the compatibilizer so that the composite with 20 wt% of DDGS inclusion showed a tensile strength of almost equal to that of the matrix itself. On the other hand, the impact strength of the compatibilized DDGS green composite was improved by around 70 % (from 75 to 126 J/m) compared to that of the non-compatibilized DDGS green composite, while the modulus of the material is still remained above 1 GPa, makes it suitable for many semi-structural applications.
This work is financially supported by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Alternative Renewable Fuels Plus Research Program, 2008 and OMAFRA Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) scholarship, 2009.