Butanol Production from Multiple Agave Species
Thursday, May 1, 2014: 8:50 AM
Grand Ballroom D-E, lobby level (Hilton Clearwater Beach)
Jonathan R. Mielenz, White Cliffs Biosystems and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (retired), Rockwood, TN, Miguel Rodriguez Jr., Biosciences Division and BioEnergy Science Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN and Olivia A. Thompson, Biosciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
Biomass production is currently limited to areas of the US that have significant rainfall. If the semi-arid portions in the western half of the US could be used to grow biomass, additional biofuels could be produced from these otherwise unproductive lands. Agave is one of the most water-use efficient plants in the world due to its crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). Different species of Agave have different cold tolerance as the majority of the species originated in the Mexico and Central America. However there are species that thrive in semi-arid regions of the US southwest. Agave carbohydrates are found in the high concentration in the soluble extractives and in the structural complex carbohydrates, all of which could contribute to biofuels fermentation if they were made accessible. Clostridium beijerinckii BA101 is a hyper-butanol producer and is capable of fermenting all biomass simple sugars to butanol and acetone at high levels. We have shown the whole Agave plant can be used to produce a drop-in biofuel and chemical intermediate by a unique fermentation process using ten different species including ones indigenous to the US. The product is butanol plus acetone produced with approaches that permits utilization of all the available carbohydrates for biofuel and biochemical production.