Tuesday, May 1, 2007 - 8:40 AM

Progress in commercialization of biomass ethanol

Gregory Luli, Brent Wood, Mike Mullinnix, and Pamela Christopher. Celunol Corp., 12085 Research Drive, Alachua, FL 32615

Recent advances by Celunol Corp. in two key technical areas have enabled the economic feasibility of an enzyme-based process for biomass conversion to fuel grade ethanol.  Enzyme-based processes are necessary for achieving the high ethanol yields required for commercial economic viability. These advances include the further improvement of the ethanol-producing bacterium Klebsiella oxytoca for cellulose conversion in simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) processes.  The new strain has improved ethanol yields and co-produces bacterial endoglucanase enzymes for cellulose hydrolysis.  Because this strain prefers to grow at pH 5.5 – 5.8 and naturally utilizes cellobiose, it is ideally suited for SSF process utilizing fungal cellulases.  This co-production of ethanol plus enzymes has significantly reduced the requirement for added enzymes.  In addition, improvements in the dilute acid biomass pretreatment process have also resulting in lower enzyme requirements and higher ethanol yields.  Progress in the commercial implementation of these new technologies will be discussed.

Web Page: www.celunol.com