More Information on Recent Bioenergy Advances
Renmatix (formerly Sriya Innovations), which exited stealth mode earlier this year, unveiled its Plantrose process, a supercritical hydrolysis process to produce sugars from biomass with less expense. At Renmatix’s demonstration facility in Kennesaw, Georgia, the company has already scaled its process to convert three dry tons of woody biomass to sugars daily.
Access to non-food derived low-cost industrial sugars, the foundation of the emerging bio-industrial economy, can enable a significant shift from petroleum-based fuels and chemicals to cost-effective bio-based alternatives. There are 3 general approaches to breaking down biomass for clean technology applications in the market place today: enzymatic hydrolysis, acid hydrolysis, and gasification. Renmatix’ is a new, fourth approach. _GCC
Brian Westenhaus takes a closer look at the new D2 bio-substitute from Berkeley's Joint Bioenergy Institute. The group is taking a microbial synthesis approach, which is aiming for high energy efficiencies of production. Expect this development to require a few more years to mature and scale to industrial proportions. This effort is likely to eventually utilise the low cost cellulosic sugars of the type being developed by Renmatrix, above.
Meanwhile, bio-butanol producer Gevo is working on producing a high quality bio-jet fuel for the US Air Force.
Gevo uses synthetic biology and metabolic engineering to develop biocatalysts (fermentation organisms) to make only isobutanol via fermentation at high concentrations—i.e., without the typical expression of co-products. The initial generation biocatalyst operates on fermentable sugars from grain crops, sugar cane and sugar beets. Gevo has already produced renewable gasoline and jet fuel that meet or exceed all ASTM specifications. The company is now developing a new generation of biocatalysts that can use the mixed sugars from biomass to produce cellulosic isobutanol. _GCCGevo plans to produce a wide variety of fuels and chemicals, using its basic isobutanol product as a starting point.
East SF Bay company Amyris is teaming with tyre maker Michelin to develop a process to produce bio-isoprene in quantity. Amyris is affiliated with Berkeley's JBEI (mentioned at top) and is at the forefront of the production of high value chemicals to substitute for petroleum feedstocks in many areas.
An interesting article from Biofuels Digest that attempts to explain the evolution and increasing sophistication of approaches to biofuels.
Energy from biomass has the potential to displace most of the current uses for petroleum, over time. This is a counter-intuitive assertion, but it is well supported by the trends in technology and by the potential resource base of biomass growth -- including the growth of micro-algae, macro-algae, halophytes, conventional biomass crops, biomass waste, forms of biomass currently being developed, and other forms of biomass.
The mindset of energy and resource scarcity is a self-limiting mindset which is not supported by developments in the real world.
Labels: bioenergy news