a division of NEPIC

ENBBIO Project

Project outline
Improving the value to the animal feed and food sectors of co-products from bioethanol production.

Of the wheat entering a bioethanol plant, approximately one third of the dry matter leaves the plant as the animal feed co-product (commonly called DDGS; Distillers Dried Grains and Solubles). By the end of 2011, two biorefineries in the North of England will account for approx. 2 Mt of wheat per annum processed, and an output of at least 600,000 t DDGS for the animal feed market.

The current composition of wheat and barley DDGS on the open market is variable. This results from the differences in design and operation of various distilleries currently producing potable alcohol in the UK. Given the scale of operation of the new bioethanol plants, higher inclusion rates of wheat DDGS might be expected in UK diets, and this will impact on North East livestock farmers. In this context, there will be greater need for a higher quality and more consistent DDGS product.

The North East will be at the forefront of developing DDGS with a high quality specification, leading the biofuels and distilling industry in promoting a more consistent and superior animal feed product than is currently available.

Biofuels produced in the EU has to meet minimum criteria for green house gas (GHG) savings. Although not included within the accounting methods under the Renewable Energy Directive, DDGS has additional benefits whereby, introduced into livestock rations, DDGS displaces soya meal imported into Europe.

Since soya has a large carbon cost in its production associated with deforestation and land use change (LUC), the production of protein concentrate such as DDGS within Europe can help to avoid damaging indirect LUC elsewhere in the world. This is particularly the case for UK wheat, and there is a second opportunity for the North East biofuels industry to lead the way in promoting the overall sustainability of biofuels to government and non governement rrganisations.

Aims and Objectives
The aim of this project will be to address the potential sources of variability in DDGS, identify opportunities to enhance its value, and to quantify the contribution of the co-products to the overall GHG balance of UK ethanol production.

The objectives are to:
1. Quantify the chemical composition of UK sources of W-DDGS and other co-products including development of appropriate methodologies,
2. Identify the limitations associated with feeding UK sources of W-DDGS in both ruminant and non-ruminant species,
3. Identify routes to improving nutritional value of DDGS through production of consistent products from modern biorefineries, making use of process modifications in biorefinery, and the use of enzymes to improve animal performance,
4. Test the modified and improved DDGS products using ruminant and non-ruminant species
5. Quantify the overall benefits of DDGS production on reducing diffuse pollutants (methane, N and P), and enhancing home-grown protein production,
6. Ensure effective knowledge transfer of research outputs.

Work Proposed
1. Investigation of nutrient balance, digestibility and availability of DDGS in pigs and poultry (ADAS & University of Nottingham with feed industry partners),
2. Quantifying the effect of DDGS in diets on the methane emissions from dairy cattle (University of Nottingham with feed industry partners),
3. Investigation of options for improving DDGS quality by manipulating protein and NSP fractions (University of Manchester),
4. Developing a true picture of the overall life cycle analysis of barley and wheat for alcohol production, and the value of DDGS co-products (ADAS & industry partners).
5. Knowledge transfer through dissemination at Grower Network Open days, through the levy bodies and industry partners, and through scientific publications.

Start date: October 2010
Duration: 3 years
Funding Structure: Total value of project: £2.1M

This is a multidisciplinary, collaborative project under the LINK scheme. The project is industry-led, with significant government sponsorship.

North East Bioresources & Renewables, c/o NEPIC, Room H224, Wilton Centre, Wilton, Redcar, TS10 4RF | T +44 (0) 1642 442 560