Sweet Sorghum-to-Ethanol: Distillation Column Design
Josh Groen, Dan Steenbergen, Nathan Toenis, and Daryl Visser
The Sweet Sorghum to Ethanol study considered the merits of farm scale ethanol production using sweet sorghum in lieu of corn grain. The equipment for the study was designed by two separate project groups. One team designed the fermentation unit for the project, while the other addressed the distillation column. The goal of this team was to design and construct a distillation column system that takes in a fermented beer mixture and produces a finished product of high purity ethanol. The team designed a column suitable for a farm scale ethanol production system and also designed a smaller research scale unit. The students fabricated and successfully tested the research unit. It is anticipated that the research column will be utilized in future feasibility studies related to farm scale sorghum-to-ethanol production.