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Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center

Danielle Bellmer, Ph.D.

Dr. Danielle Bellmer is a food engineer at the FAPC.

Food Process Engineer

  • DISCIPLINE:
    Food Engineering

  • AREA OF EXPERTISE:Danielle Bellmer
    Food process engineering, chemical and physical properties of food products, value-added processing

  • GENERAL AREAS OF RESEARCH:
    Ethanol production from sweet sorghum; various investigations in the biomass sourcing for energy; sources in the value-added products from various agricultural commodities; studies on the improvement in food products processing; studies on general areas of process engineering in foods.

  • CONTACT:
    Address: Oklahoma State University
    Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center
    108 FAPC
    Stillwater, OK 74078
    Phone: 405-744-6626
    Fax: 405-744-6313
    E-mail: danielle.bellmer@okstate.edu

  • CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS:

  • Biofuels from sweet sorghum.

FAPC researchers continued studies on the production of ethanol from sweet sorghum because sweet sorghum is a promising bioenergy feedstock for this region, producing high levels of carbohydrates with relatively low inputs. The project continued to evolve and current research included test plots around the state evaluating sweet sorghum varieties and agronomic conditions.

Studies related to fermentation of the pressed juice, optimal microbial levels during the fermentation process, press configurations and process options to generate the juice and the design and development of a pilot scale distillation system. Additionally, evaluation of a diffusion process for sugar extraction is on-going with the goal of developing a process that can be used for multiple feedstocks (such as sugar beets). The research team is also investigating the simultaneous hydrolysis of starch and cellulose.

Collaborators include Dr. Whiteley in Chemical Engineering, Dr. Godsey and Dr. Kakani in Plant and Soil Sciences, Dr. Huhnke and Dr. Buser in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, and Dr. Mosali at the Noble Foundation in Ardmore.

  • Production of ethanol from soft drink waste.

This project’s goal is the evaluation of potential uses of soft drink waste for production of ethanol. Beverage bottling plants generate waste products that are currently sent to wastewater treatment for disposal. However, soft drink wastes contain sugar, which could be used as a feedstock for fuel production.

The project began as a BAE freshman research project, and since has evaluated the fermentation process of waste liquids. The effects of inhibitors, product type, and pH adjustment have been evaluated. Additionally, the effects of fermentation temperature and yeast inoculation level on fermentation rate have been studied.

  • Use of catalysts for modification of biomass-derived syngas.

This project has focused on the use of catalysts to reduce tar levels in biomass-generated syngas. A tube furnace testing system with an in-line GC has been constructed to conduct small-scale studies. The idea has been to use toluene as a model tar compound and evaluate various steam-reforming catalysts for their efficiency in breaking down the toluene. An extent-of-reaction model for prediction of the dominant reactions occurring during the steam reforming process has been developed.

  • Bioenergy and sustainable technology graduate certificate program.

OSU is one of four land grant institutions participating in a multi-institutional graduate certificate program involving Bioenergy and Sustainable Technology. The program is an interdisciplinary certificate involving 15 credit hours of courses covering topics in feedstock production, conversion processes and sustainability. It is a completely on-line program and is distance-enabled through the AG*IDEA framework.

Dr. Dani Bellmer serves as the program coordinator at OSU, and the project involves FAPC and 4 departments including Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Economics, Plant and Soil Sciences and Chemical Engineering along with similar departments at Kansas State University, University of Arkansas and South Dakota State University.