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Updated June 23, 2009

 

 
 
RESEARCH AREAS

AQUEOUS EXTRACTION

This project focuses on the goal of developing advanced biorefineries using soybeans as feedstock. Biorefineries using corn and cellulosic biomass are becoming well established but using soybeans to replace petroleum has not moved beyond just producing biodiesel by using hazardous hexane-extraction of oil. Our long-term goals are to: develop “clean” water-based technologies to fractionate soybeans into oil-, protein-, and fiber-rich fractions suitable for converting into motor fuels¸ bioenergy, biobased products and specialty food and feed ingredients; eliminate dangerous and polluting hexane-extraction currently used to recover soybean oil; develop enzyme-based technologies to produce hydrolyzed protein for use in wood adhesives and other biobased products; integrate new extraction and conversion technologies into a highly efficient soybean biorefinery; and demonstrate the feasibility of small-scale processes to recover soybean oil and value-added protein co-products to increase rural employment. Much concern has been expressed about food versus fuel, and this project seeks to break this dogma by enabling production of both food and fuel from soybeans.