2007-08 SENIOR DESIGN PROJECTS
Sweet Sorghum-to-Ethanol: Fermentation System Design
David Ellerie, Pete Hondred, Ben Lehman, and Andy Olthoff
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 for this group was to design, construct, and test a research scale fermentation system for converting sweet sorghum juice to beer. The objectives were met with a mobile unit incorporating a 550 gallon fermentation tank, accommodations for a second tank, and an agitation system to keep the beer well mixed during the fermentation process. The completed project was tested and successfully produced a batch of beer with approximately 10% alcohol content.