Cellulosic Biofuel update

If I am reading this right, we can now accept a full range of cellulose containing feedstocks that pass first through a pretreatment phase. Nothing is said about this except to say that it is mild and surely wet. This treated feedstock is then passed into the bio-processing phase to brew up its cellulose into ethanol. It appears that the lignin fraction separates and can be recovered for separate processing.

This sounds like it can be set up easily in the farm environment allowing for the production of a shippable brew or more likely the ethanol itself.

The productivity is the core of this announcement. It was unexpected so soon although efforts are in that direction.

The lignin is also prospective for conversion but can easily be shipped. We will want to separate ethanol and process the balance of the brew itself. The process should lend itself to having the remaining solids passed back into the brewing process with a new charge.

Right now it sounds like a slow but effective process, not unlike wine making.

May 08, 2009
"This is a true breakthrough that takes us much, much closer to billions of gallons of low cost cellulosic biofuels," said Michigan State University's Dr. Bruce Dale, who is also Editor of the journal Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefineries.
"Many had thought that CBP was years or even decades away, but the future just arrived. Mascoma has permanently changed the biofuels landscape from here on."
Consolidated bioprocessing, or CBP, harnesses the power of nature’s best celluose utilizing and ethanol fermenting microbes and allows nature to do the majority of the work resulting in a simpler process consisting of a mild pretreatment followed by the introduction of microbes that both hydrolyze and ferment the sugars into ethanol;
Thermophilic Bacteria -- Production of nearly 6% wt/vol ethanol by an engineered thermophilie, an increase of 60% over what was reported just a year ago;
-- The first report of targeted metabolic engineering of a cellulose-fermenting thermophile, Clostridium thermocellum, leading to a reduced production of unwanted organic acid byproducts;
and -- Selected strains of C. thermocellum that can rapidly consume cellulose with high conversion and no added cellulase, and grow on cellulose in the presence of commercial levels of ethanol.
Recombinant, Cellulolytic Yeast
-- 3,000-fold increase in cellulase expression;
-- A significant 2.5-fold reduction in the added cellulase required for conversion of pretreated hardwood to ethanol; and -- Complete elimination of added cellulase for conversion of waste paper sludge to ethanol. In February 2009, Mascoma announced that its pilot facility in Rome, NY had begun producing cellulosic ethanol. The demonstration facility, which was constructed with the generous support from the State of New York through the NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, has the flexibility to run on numerous biomass feedstocks including wood chips, tall grasses, corn stover (residual corn stalks) and sugar cane bagasse.
The facility will provide process performance engineering data sufficient to support construction of 1/10th scale and commercial scale biorefineries in Kinross, MI, with support from the Department of Energy and State of Michigan.

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