- Category: Technology
- 12 May 2009
- Published on Tuesday, 12 May 2009 11:05
- Hits (1989)
Mascoma Corporation has announced that the company has made research advances in consolidated bioprocessing (CBP), a low-cost processing strategy for the production of biofuels from cellulosic biomass.
The CBP process uses engineered microorganisms to produce cellulases and ethanol at high yield in a single step.
Multiple research advances presented by Mascoma Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Mike Ladisch at the 31st Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals in San Francisco provide proof of concept for CBP. These include advances with both bacteria that grow at high temperatures, called thermophiles, and recombinant cellulolytic yeast.
Thermophilic bacteria can produce nearly 6% wt/vol ethanol. A metabolically-engineered cellulose-fermenting themophile, Clostridium thermocellum, can lead to a reduced production of organic acid by-products and selected strains can also rapidly consume cellulose with high conversion and no added cellulose, and grow cellulose in the presence of commercial levels of ethanol.
Recombinant, cellulolytic yeast has a 3,000-fold increase in cellulose expression and a significant 2.5-fold reduction in the added cellulose required for conversion of pre-treated hardwood to ethanol. It also manages to complete elimination of added cellulose for conversion of waste paper sludge to ethanol.
“These advances enable the reduction in operating and capital costs required for cost-effective commercial production of ethanol, bringing Mascoma substantially closer to commercialization,” said Jim Flatt, Executive Vice President of Research, Development and Operations at Mascoma.
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 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.
- Katrice R. Jalbuena