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Alcohol Measurement in Mash of Molasses using Alcolyzer Beer M/ME from Anton Paar

The measurement of the ethanol concentration in mash is an important analytical step during bioethanol production.

Bioethanol is produced by fermentation of biomass, e.g. corn, sugar beet or sugar cane, and can be added to common gasoline directly or indirectly, as ethyl-tert-butyl-ether (ETBE).

The alcohol content in fermented biomass (called mash) towards the end of the fermentation varies between 8 %v/v and 14 %v/v, depending on the substrate used. 

2 Traditional Alcohol Determination vs. Alcolyzer Beer M/ME

The required accuracy for the measurement of ethanol in mash is ± 0.1 %v/v ethanol.

The preferred analytical methods are distillation followed by density measurement or GC (gas chromatography). Since these methods are time consuming, there is the demand for a quick and robust ethanol determination.

Alcolyzer Beer M/ME from Anton Paar GmbH (compare Figure 2), based on a NIR (Near Infrared) spectrometer, fulfills these demands. Usually this instrument determines the ethanol content in beer and cider, but it can also be used for ethanol analysis in mash of molasses from sugar beet (it is likely that molasses from sugar cane can also be measured with Alcolyzer Beer M/ME, but no feasibility studies have been performed up until now).

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