Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Donald Colliver


Stillage is a byproduct of alcohol distillation and must be managed in all distilleries to sustain operations. In the United States, fuel ethanol plants typically convert all stillage into Dried Distillers’ Grains with Solubles (DDGS). This process and its variations are well known. Typical stillage management approaches are not well known, however, for the Kentucky bourbon industry. A survey of stillage management approaches in operational bourbon distilleries was conducted. Process modeling was performed to evaluate the energy and economic considerations of the available stillage dewatering methods for a 7 Million Original Proof Gallon (MMOPG) distillery. Monte Carlo simulations were performed to evaluate the uncertainty in key economic parameters associated with each stillage dewatering approach. It was found that Kentucky bourbon distilleries smaller than 6 MMOPG tend not to dewater stillage, and instead only sell whole stillage. Distilleries larger than 7.5 MMOPG use traditional dewatering methods, but only process some whole stillage and sell a variety of spent grains byproducts instead of solely selling DDGS. It was found that it is most economically advantageous for both the business and society for a 7 MMOPG distillery to process all whole stillage into DDGS. The modeled approaches which most closely represent those used by larger bourbon distilleries have the worst economic outcomes.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)