Multidisciplinary biotech hub MBI specialises in unique de-risking capabilities, particularly with regard to the development of biofuels, chemicals, food and feed from renewable, rather than fossil, raw materials. It has recently developed an ammonia-based pretreatment technology called AFEX, in close collaboration with Michigan State University (MSU). This has the potential to double worldwide output from existing grain-crop production while providing an affordable and sustainable source of food, feed, fuels and chemicals. The technology has now been advanced from the laboratory stage to a one-ton-per-day pilot scale.
The Deinol technology developed by cleantech company Deinove is a production system aimed at converting pretreated industrial biomass into ethanol. Its most interesting feature is the ability of Deinococcus bacteria, in a single operation, to break down complex sugars in lignocellulosic biomass and then to convert them into ethanol, thereby replacing the microorganisms that are traditionally used and a large part of the enzyme treatment that precedes fermentation. This means that Deinol could provide major competitive advantages, enabling industries to produce 2G biofuels under better financial conditions than currently available technologies.
Deinove is now proceeding to test Deinol using industrial biomass in which the Deinococcus is combined with AFEX, the aim being to customise Deinococcus for industrial biomass. Previous tests conducted by the company have shown that Deinococcus assimilates over 95 percent of the sugars in AFEX pretreated biomass, converting them into ethanol.
Preliminary tests have resulted in an assimilation rate of more than 95 percent of all the sugars available in the biomass and the production of ethanol, a process called ‘Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation’, thereby demonstrating the effectiveness of AFEX technology in releasing the cellulose and hemicellulose found in the biomass, and the effectiveness of Deinococcus in assimilating and metabolizing the material obtained.
“The preliminary results obtained by combining AFEX and Deinococcus not only confirmed the performance of each one of our technologies” said Allen Julian, MBI's Chief Business Officer, “but also demonstrated a compelling synergy between both. The results obtained so far confirm the extraordinary fermenting capabilities of Deinococcus bacteria, as well as their significant potential for product cost reduction. This combination is highly promising, and it could provide an answer for an industry that is seeking a technologically and economically competitive solution to the challenge of producing sustainable, low-cost biofuels.”
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