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Private Sector Partnerships Help Biofuels Research Center Break New Ground

News Release
Contact: Courtney Breckenridge
Office: 618-659-6737 ext. 230

Littleford Day reacto

EDWARDSVILLE – The NCERC at SIUE is again reaping the benefits of its partnerships with the private sector in the form of donated equipment that enables the Center to conduct advanced biofuels research.

In June, Littleford Day, Inc. provided the Center with its Littleford DVT-130 polyphase system via a 90-day, no-cost lease. The Center leveraged the value of the no-cost lease as matching funds for research grants from the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity. As a result, the Center was able to expand upon its ground-breaking investigation of new pretreatment technologies for cellulose and biomass cellulose used in the production of advanced biofuels.

“This reactor enables NCERC to continue its grant-funded research at a scale not currently achievable in a laboratory setting,” Research Engineer Terry Lash said. “We’ve also had interest from the private sector in this type of work, and the Littleford reactor allows us to draw those clients in the door. In fact, simply having the equipment in the facility has already generated new opportunities and interest from clients for research beyond the purposes we anticipated.”

The DVT-130, marketed as a mixer, dryer, and reactor, is primarily used by the Center for the investigation of new pretreatment technologies. The DVT-130 is also designed for medium and high intensity mixing of liquid and dry ingredients, low temperature vacuum drying, sterilization using steam injection, and high temperature drying and reacting. Exposure to the NCERC’s vast array of clients and visitors is one of the primary motivations for companies such as Littleford Day to install their equipment at the Center at no cost.

Center Director John Caupert said the reactor contributes to the Center’s scope of advanced biofuels research capabilities and is a prime example of the types of public private partnerships the Center has excelled at creating.

“The NCERC is the only facility in the world at which corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, advanced biofuels, and specialty chemical research is conducted simultaneously,” Executive Director John Caupert said. “Partnerships with companies like Littleford Day enable us to continue offering our clients maximum flexibility and diversity in our research capabilities, while simultaneously advancing our own research for the public sector. We are fortunate to be uniquely equipped to bring the public and private sectors together for these mutually beneficial collaborations.”

“We are excited by the opportunity to gain valuable exposure of our process technology to the advanced biomass industry,” Littleford Day North Central Sales Manager Shawn Hearn said. “The Center has incredible relationships within the industry, and partnering with them allows us the opportunity to introduce our technologies to new audiences.”

The reactor is not the first equipment donated to the Center by private clients, who have installed process instruments, electrical control systems, and many of the components of the Center’s unique fermentation suite. In 2011, NCERC installed a corn fractionation system valued at $4.5 million, of which $1M of equipment and service was donated by Cereal Process Technologies. In addition, Siemens donated a $1M distributed process control system in 2006.

Littleford Day and other donors benefit from their partnerships with the Center through technology demonstrations that provide exposure to potential clients, tax benefits for the value of the donation, and attribution in any public research or scholarly articles published on experiments using the equipment.

“When we conduct client research using Littleford technology, the client is likely to go to Littleford to invest in the equipment when they decide to scale up their process,” Lash said. “Furthermore, Littleford is privy to any public research we accomplish using their technology and will be cited in any scholarly literature we publish as a result of that research. “

Photo caption: NCERC Research Director Dr. Sabrina Trupia and Littleford Day North Central Sales Manager Shawn Hearn discuss feedstock pretreatment options in front of the Littleford Reactor during FEW Tour Day at the NCERC in June.

About the NCERC
The NCERC at SIUE is a nationally recognized research center dedicated to the development and commercialization of biofuels, specialty chemicals and other renewable compounds. The Center’s fully functional dry grind pilot plant and laboratories are equipped with advanced biofuels capabilities including corn fractionation, pretreatment, and a fermentation suite with 5, 30, 150 and 1500L scale-up. Facilities are staffed by industry veterans with more than 100 years of collective experience in fermentation and biofuels production. This knowledgeable team has the flexibility and expertise to design and carry out projects in any region of the advanced biofuels or specialty chemicals space.  For more information, contact Courtney Breckenridge, (618) 659-6737 ext. 230,, or visit

About SIUE
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) is a nationally recognized university dedicated to educating and developing professional and community leaders through its excellent faculty and academic programs. With a student-to-teacher ratio of 17-to-1, SIUE offers the advantages of a small, liberal arts college with the lowest tuition of all 12 state universities in Illinois. The emphasis on undergraduate education, complemented by faculty research, creates practical applications for student learning. In fall 2011, SIUE reached the largest overall enrollment in the history of the University with 14,235 students. In fiscal year 2011, SIUE faculty and staff received more than $34 million in grants and contracts for research, teaching and service initiatives. Only 25 minutes from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River's rich bottom land. SIUE has been shaping the future in the St. Louis Metro Area since 1957, offering quality undergraduate and graduate programs combined with a solid commitment to the economic development of Southwestern Illinois.

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