Researching Ways to Turn Biorefinery Waste into New Products

Cindy Zimmerman

A research team at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is beginning work on new methods to turn biorefinery waste into valuable industrial products.

A pilot scale testing facility for one of the processes set to be established at SD Mines. Pilot scale processing of corn stover will be performed at Idaho National Lab, SD Mines and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to make products such as carbon nanofibers, lactic acid, phenol, and battery grade biocarbon. These valuable products have wide ranging use in industry, from disinfectants to carbon fiber materials to batteries and fuel. The products that can be created with these processes include clean-burning oils, “This can be blended with commercial bio-diesel and used in diesel generators,” says Vinod Amar, Ph.D., a SD Mines research scientist working on the project.

Some of the partnering institutions on this project will also have processing facilities including, Old Dominion University (ODU), Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).

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