Sunday, December 11, 2005

Simultaneous production of xylitol and ethanol from cellulosic biomass

Process for the simultaneous production of xylitol and ethanol - Patent 6846657:
"It has now been found that xylitol and ethanol can be produced simultaneously by using the process of the invention wherein xylose is converted to xylitol, while the majority of the other hexoses present in the raw material are converted to ethanol. Thus the raw material is effectively utilized and two commercially very important products are obtained in a pure form and with a high yield. The process is simple and effective.

The process of the invention is characterized in that the hydrolyzed starting material is fermented with a yeast strain, the ethanol produced is recovered, a chromatographic separation is carried out on the remaining xylitol solution, and pure xylitol is crystallized. Xylose-containing substances are used as starting materials, which in accordance with the invention are fermented with a yeast strain that is capable of converting xylose to xylitol and most hexoses to ethanol. By fermentation, a xylitol-rich solution is obtained wherefrom xylitol is recovered in a simple way. Laborious and complex separation steps (such as the conventional ion exchange, demineralization, precipitations etc.) are not needed, but generally the xylitol can be purified in a single step chromatographically, whereafter it is crystallized to obtain pure xylitol. Ethanol is easy to remove from the fermentation solution for instance by evaporation. Thus the need for separating xylitol from the hexitols and other sugars produced in the hydrolysis and reduction steps is avoided. The hydrolysis performed in accordance with the invention also provides a solution to the problem of using pulp discarded as waste mass, in other processes, and thus in the process of the invention substantially the entire starting material is utilized. "

Energy Use and Sustainable Farming

Sustainable Table: The Issues: Fossil Fuel and Energy Use:
"Fortunately, a number of agricultural techniques can be used to decrease our dependence upon fossil fuel. One effective method is to reduce or eliminate tillage (plowing the soil); a Canadian study determined that implementation of a modified no-till system reduced the use of diesel fuel from 7.9 gallons to 1.1 gallons per hectare.12 Another study indicated that total CO 2 emissions generated by a no-till system were 92% lower than emissions from conventional tillage.13 Fossil fuel consumption could also be decreased by reducing fertilizer use, by using manure more efficiently, and by practicing certain types of crop rotation (for example, including legumes in crop rotation).14
Although these techniques are usually difficult to implement on huge mono-crop industrial farms, many sustainable farms already practice these energy-saving production methods. In fact, small-scale, less mechanized, more biodiverse organic farming operations have been shown to use 60% less fossil fuel per unit of food than conventional industrial farms.15"

$10.00 per acre fuel savings with no-till farming

Practices To Reduce High Tractor Fuel Costs:
9/13/2005 -- AgBIO, SOuth Dakota State University
"SDSU Extension Farm Machinery Specialist Dick Nicolai said one practice that minimizes fuel consumption is the no-till method that requires fewer passes over the land to till and plant crops.
'No-till farming has been used by some South Dakota farmers over the years but the current rising trend in fuel prices has encouraged more producers to look into these practices. Fuel savings vary for different producers who use the no-till method. Fuel savings of around $10/acre can be expected when compared to traditional farming practices,' Nicolai said."

Coping With High Diesel Prices

Coping With High Diesel Prices:
University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service
"For crops that require tillage, hitch two or more implements together to reduce the number of tillage passes required. For example, instead of disking once and then harrowing twice, hitching the harrow to the disc to perform the first harrow operation will eliminate one pass through the field and save an estimated $5.28 per acre for a 100-Hp tractor and 10-foot harrow.
Change from conventional tillage to no-till. Fuel cost for corn planted following plowing, discing, and cultivating is estimated at $14.17/acre. While fuel cost for no-till corn is estimated at only $9.14."

No-till, less fuel use | The Waterloo Cedar-Falls Courier Online!:
by Matthew Wilde -- 11/20/2005
"According to the Conservation Technology Information Center at Purdue University in Indiana, no-till farming saves 3.5 gallons of diesel an acre. On a 500-acre farm, paying current diesel prices, that is a savings of $3,920.
The center also claims fewer trips will save a farmers $5 per acre on machinery wear and maintenance costs. That's another $2,500 in savings for 500 acres."

Auto steer technology cuts wastes, saves time, fuel

Farm & Ranch Guide: Production News:
by Donna Farris -- 11/23/2005
"John Deere's GreenStar AutoTrac hands-free steering system is an option on new tractors, sprayers and combines, while the AutoTrac Universal Steering Kit is designed to set older tractors up with automatic guidance.

?It can be added to almost anything anymore,? Hellie said.

The average farmer steering on his own overlaps 10 percent in field pass-throughs, Hellie said. That overlap can be reduced to little or nothing with automatic steering.

?He's saving fuel, time, hours on the tractor, wear and tear on equipment and chemicals,? Hellie said. ?For the larger farmer, it will pay for itself in three or four years.?"

Organic farmers enjoy higher crop values, lower input costs

Farm & Ranch Guide: Regional News:
by Donna Farris -- 12/8/2005
"As the farmer of 240 acres, economics also led Steven Halter of Lamberton, Minn., to switch to organic farming in 1998.
'I always say that if I hadn't gone to organic when I did, I probably would have quit,' he said.
In a time when it seems farms must be large to be viable, 'it didn't seem to work out for me to be conventional,' he said.
He's found there are other benefits as well.
'It's better for the soil, better for ourselves and I enjoy it more,' he said."

New Strip Tillage Technique Saves Money on Tractor Fuel | News | Farmers dig deep to save money on fuel:
"The machine cuts a foot-deep groove into the soil where sugar beets will be planted next spring.
This method requires only two trips across the field, instead of the six or seven required by conventional farming techniques. This can save a typical farmer thousands of dollars in fuel costs.
'It's about doubled in the last year or so. It should be a tremendous savings in fuel,' Longmont Conservation District's Bill Haselbush says.
The main reason the Soil Conservation Service is promoting the idea, however, is to reduce soil erosion. Instead of turning the soil over with a plow and discing it until it's practically powder, this method leaves stubble in the field and that should help hold the soil in place."