Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Ralph Alcock


Interest in small scale fuel ethanol production from agricultural crops and residues was intense in the late 1970’s but has diminished in recent years. The current demand for fuel ethanol is being met primarily by large scale producers. The Nebraska Alcohol Program began, in 1978, to promote a 10 percent ethanol 90 percent gasoline blend called "gasohol", in an effort to conserve petroleum fuels and to provide an alternative market for agricultural commodities. The high cost of producing ethanol in small scale plants and the limitations of ethanol as a fuel in conventional engines have limited the expansion of ethanol production. Research conducted at South Dakota State University (SDSU} has focused on reducing ethanol production costs· and improving the feasibility of community scale alcohol plants. The Agricultural Engineering department studied energy consumption in the distillation process (Stampe, 1982, Stampe, et al. 1983) and the utilization of ethanol in conventional agricultural vehicles (Bassett, et al. 1981). The Microbiology department has studied methods of increasing the ethanol yield from corn (Westby and Gibbons, 1982) and for producing ethanol in a solid-phase fermentation process from fodder beets (Gibbons, et al. 1984) and sweet sorghum (Gibbons, et al. 1986). The Dairy Science department determined that wet distillers’ grains can be utilized effectively in rations for · lactating dairy cattle as a protein and energy source (Shingoethe, et al. 1982). The Economics department developed a framework for examining the feasibility of ethanol production in small scale plants (Dobbs, et al. 1981) and discussed the economic considerations of producing ethanol from alternative crops (Dobbs, et al. 1984). This research determined the need for further studies to improve the technology associated with feedstocks, labor and energy consumption.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Alcohol as fuel -- Energy consumption
Distillation -- Energy consumption



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State