D3MAX announced the completion and shipment of its pilot plant employing its patented D3MAX cellulosic ethanol technology, installed at ACE Ethanol, LLC, in Stanley, Wisconsin. Testing of the patented D3MAX corn fiber-to-ethanol process and technology is underway with testing to be complete by June of 2017. After analyzing pilot test data, D3MAX has concluded that its process has demonstrated better than expected results.
Based on the latest information, the pilot test results indicate that the yield of xylose sugar from the xylan in corn fiber routinely exceeds 90% of the theoretical maximum yield, and overall sugar production in the pilot plant is better than the target yields.
Because the pilot test results have been so positive to date, D3MAX plans to begin designing the first commercial scale D3MAX plant this summer with construction expected to begin by Fall 2017.
|How the D3MAX process (shown in blue) “bolts-on” to a dry mill ethanol plant. Click to enlarge.|
The D3MAX process converts both five- and six-carbon sugars in wet cake to cellulosic ethanol. Starch, cellulose, xylose and arabinose are all converted to cellulosic ethanol with higher yields, lower energy consumption, and lower capital cost per gallon than other cellulosic ethanol producers.
An important advantage of the D3MAX process is that the wet cake has been “cooked” or pre-pretreated in the ethanol plant. This means that the D3MAX pretreatment can be run at much lower temperature and pressure, and milder pH conditions. The net result is that the cost of the pretreatment equipment is significantly reduced and operating costs are also reduced.
The D3MAX process converts the cellulose and hemicellulose in wet cake to monomeric sugars which are then fermented to ethanol. Residual starch in the wet cake is converted to sugar and fermented to ethanol.
After fermentation, the beer is distilled and dehydrated in the same manner as ethanol produced from corn starch. Water containing protein, lignin, and other non-fermentables is removed from the bottom of the beer column and processed in the same manner as whole stillage in a dry mill ethanol plant to produce a low fiber, high protein DDGS.
Converting the fiber and residual starch in the wet cake to ethanol reduces the volume of DDGS by about 20%. The protein concentration is increased to about 40%. This low fiber, high protein DDGS is suitable for feed for monogastric animals including swine and poultry, in addition to use as a feed for cattle and dairy cows.