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Hui Wang, pilot plant manager, (left) and Ethan Wiegle, former pilot plant assistant manager, monitor the centrifuge and mixing tanks during the vegetable protein extraction project.

Hui Wang, pilot plant manager, (left) and Ethan Wiegle, former pilot plant assistant manager, monitor the centrifuge and mixing tanks during the vegetable protein extraction project.

Pilot Plant Update

Hui Wang, Pilot Plant Manager


Wurgaft Consulting and Development Brings New Vegetable Protein Extraction Project to CCUR

Wurgaft Consulting and Development LLC, an Oregon-based company, and its European client worked with the Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR) to run a large aqueous vegetable protein extraction project. The pilot-scale project involved tanks, different types of continuous centrifuges, membranes, jet-cooker and spray dryer. Multiple final protein product samples and co-products were produced and sent to the client's facility for further evaluation. The unit operation parameters were partially optimized and recorded. The goals of this project included producing pilot-scale samples and investigating the scale-up possibility for potential commercial production. Roi Wurgaft, owner of Wurgaft Consulting and Development and an acknowledged expert and leader in the vegetable protein industry, is a long-time client of CCUR. In 2015, CCUR assisted Wurgaft with the scale up a legume protein extraction process. Read more about that project here.

Ben Goedken, senior in biological systems engineering, (right) adds corn to the corrugated roller mill as his team member Carly Polson, senior in biological systems engineering, watches.
Ben Goedken, senior in biological systems engineering, (right) adds corn to the corrugated roller mill as his team member Carly Polson, senior in biological systems engineering, watches.

Graduate Student Completes a Jet Cooking Project

A jet cooking project was carried out successfully in the Wet Processing Pilot Plant. The project was led by Brett Brothers, graduate student in food science and human nutrition (FSHN), and his major professor Tong Wang, professor of FSHN. Hui Wang, pilot plant manager, assisted with the set up and completion of the experiment. 

About 12 liters of an oil-water mixture was treated with high-pressure steam for a short period time in the hydro-heater type jet cooker. The treated mixture was recirculated in the jet cooker 30 times. The mixture was sampled after each cycle. The experiment was designed to simulate jet cooking with backset operations in commercial corn ethanol plants. The project objective was to test the hypothesis that jet cooking with backset is one of the key unit operations which contribute to the high free fatty acid content in distiller's dry grains with solubles (DDGS), a co-product of dry-grind corn ethanol manufacturing. Understanding how the free fatty acids are produced is believed to be crucial for developing new methods to increase the quality of the DDGS and/or the efficiency of dry grind ethanol operations.

CCUR Assists with Senior Capstone Project

Ben Goedken and Carly Polson, seniors in biological systems engineering, used CCUR equipment and staff assistance to complete their senior capstone project during the Fall 2017 semester. The objective of their projects was to determine which upstream treatments of corn would result in the highest ethanol yield at the lowest cost. Six corn samples were tested. Two were milled flour with different particle sizes and four were fractionation after further aspiration. In order to evaluate the scalability and feasibility at different scales, a life-cycle assessment on environmental impact and a techno-economic analysis were carried out.

Brett Brothers, graduate student in FSHN, (front) takes samples of the oil-water mixture that was treated with high-pressure steam in the jet cooker. In the back, Hui Wang, pilot plant manager, (back left) and Tong Wang, professor of FSHN, add the oil-water mixture to the jet cooker.

Brett Brothers, graduate student in FSHN, (front) takes samples of the oil-water mixture that was treated with high-pressure steam in the jet cooker. In the back, Hui Wang, pilot plant manager, (back left) and Tong Wang, professor of FSHN, add the oil-water mixture to the jet cooker.