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Ethanol Plant By-Product Uses for Pavement GEO-Materials Stabilization, TR-582


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Project status


Start date: 03/01/08
End date: 02/28/10


Report: Ethanol Plant By-Product Uses for Pavement GEO-Materials Stabilization, TR-582 (2.4 mb pdf) April 2010

Tech transfer summary: Bioful Co-Product Uses for Pavement Geomaterials Stabilization (2.9 mb pdf) Apr 2010



About the research

Abstract: The production and use of biofuels has increased in the present context of sustainable development. Biofuel production from plant biomass produces not only biofuel or ethanol but also co-products containing lignin, modified lignin, and lignin derivatives. This research investigated the utilization of lignin-containing biofuel co-products (BCPs) in pavement soil stabilization as a new application area. Laboratory tests were conducted to evaluate the performance and the moisture susceptibility of two types of BCP-treated soil samples compared to the performance of untreated and traditional stabilizer-treated (fly ash) soil samples. The two types of BCPs investigated were (1) a liquid type with higher lignin content (co-product A) and (b) a powder type with lower lignin content (co-product B). Various additive combinations (co-product A and fly ash, co-products A and B, etc.) were also evaluated as alternatives to stand-alone co-products. Test results indicate that BCPs are effective in stabilizing the Iowa Class 10 soil classified as CL or A-6(8) and have excellent resistance to moisture degradation. Strengths and moisture resistance in comparison to traditional additives (fly ash) could be obtained through the use of combined additives (co-product A + fly ash; co-product A + co-product B). Utilizing BCPs as a soil stabilizer appears to be one of the many viable answers to the profitability of the bio-based products and the bioenergy business. Future research is needed to evaluate the freeze-thaw durability and for resilient modulus characterization of BCP-modified layers for a variety of pavement subgrade and base soil types. In addition, the long-term performance of these BCPs should be evaluated under actual field conditions and traffic loadings. Innovative uses of BCP in pavement-related applications could not only provide additional revenue streams to improve the economics of biorefineries, but could also serve to establish green road infrastructures.