Dr. Singh from the University of Illinois has developed a hydrothermal pretreatment method which increases the efficiency of oil extraction from high oil feedstocks. New research has engineered high energy crops that produce high concentrations of vegetable oil. Novel pretreatment methods are required in order to make efficient use of these high energy crops for biofuel production and oil extraction.
Typical commercial pretreatment for simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) bioethanol production include addition of acid or alkali to prepare the feedstock for saccharification. However, these chemical pretreatments can degrade the oil content (saponification) and detract from the economic efficiency of the production pipeline. This pretreatment method improves the yields of oil from corn germ meal by four times and alleviates the need for additional chemicals in the pretreatment steps.