Once upon a time, the machine made plastics. Then researchers at Purdue University decided to turn it to loose with corn kernels and discovered
a new way to make low-cost ethanol
. The resulting process is dubbed the Chen-Xu Method after Li-fu Chen, a professor in food sciences at Purdue University who helped invent the revamped machine, and research assistant Qin Xu, also from the Purdue food science department. The process, which grinds the kernels and liquefies the resulting starch with high temperatures, produces about 2.85 gallons of ethanol per bushel.
Chen said that his method produces ethanol for less money than the wet-milling plant method, and equipment investment is less than in a dry-milling plant. The process also requires less water than wet milling and no sulfur dioxide. Bio Processing Technology Inc. has licensed The Chen-Xu method from the Purdue Research Foundation. , Along with ethanol, the method produces corn oil and other products such as zein, which can be used to make plastics. Seems like everything new is old again.
[Source: Renewable Energy Access]