Archives :: Chementator :: Bioprocessing

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November 1, 2013
Industrial microbiology continues to hold the promise of producing an increasingly large array of commercially important chemicals because an ever-wider number of useful microbes is being developed and successfully deployed at commercially viable scales. Today, many of these bio-based chemicals are needed in quantities so large that existing fermentation technology is inadequate, and this is pushing the...
September 1, 2013
Researchers from the U.S. Dept. of Energys Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI; Emeryville, Calif.; have reported the first demonstration of a one-pot, wash-free process for the ionic-liquid pretreatment and saccharification of switchgrass — a leading potential biofuel feedstock. By combining ionic liquid pretreatment and saccharification into a single...
August 1, 2013
A process that is expected to produce high-octane gasoline from non-food biomass for an average cost of $1.50/gal, depending on feed costs, will be commercialized by Cool Planet Energy Systems (Denver, Colo.; The company has tested the process in a 200,000-gal/yr pilot plant in Camarillo, Calif., and now plans to install 400 10-million-gal/yr microrefineries across the U.S. by 2020...
July 1, 2013
In April development tests, Cobalt Technologies (Cobalt; Mountain View, Calif; produced n -butanol at the fermentation scale of 100 m3 per run, demonstrating lower production cost than butanol produced from petroleum. This represents production that is a factor of 10 larger than previous trials conducted at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL; Golden, Colo.;
July 1, 2013
On the heels of its successful scaleup of bio-butanol, Cobalt is looking for pathways to use that molecule as a building block for other products. The company has announced plans to build...
July 1, 2013
Squalane, an emollient used in cosmetics, will be the first product of a biotechnology pilot plant now being started up by Nucelis Inc. (San Diego, Calif.;, a spin-off from Cibus (also of San Diego). The plant will use Cibus’ Rapid Trait Development System (RTDS), a new gene-editing technology, to enable naturally occurring yeast to increase their production of squalene, the...
May 1, 2013
Although several antimicrobial hydrogels have been developed in recent years, they all have one or more drawbacks, such as possible toxicity, insufficient stability and biodegradability, and high costs. These and other drawbacks have been overcome with a synthetic hydrogel being developed by researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (Singapore; and IBM...
December 1, 2012
Lately there has been much renewed interest in fermentative production of n-butanol from renewable biomass as an industrial solvent and liquid fuel superior to ethanol that could be used as a substitute for gasoline. An improved butanol production through the reinforcement of the direct butanol-forming route in Clostridium acetobutylicum has been reported by a Korean team, which includes scientists from...
December 1, 2012
A demonstration plant for the production of acetic acid from the carbon dioxide in industrial offgases will be built at an operating plant of Petronas (Kuala Lumpur;, Malaysia’s national oil company, under an agreement with LanzaTech (Roselle, Ill.;, developer of the process. Scheduled for startup in late 2013, the plant will be similar in size to a...
December 1, 2012
Newlight Technologies (Irvine, Calif.; has launched commercial production of a polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) thermoplastic made from air and greenhouse gases, such as methane, that can be manufactured less expensively than conventional petroleum-derived alternatives, using a novel high-efficiency biocatalyst and bioreactor system. While considerable effort has previously been directed toward...
September 1, 2012
Linde Gases (Murray Hill, N.J.; has developed a novel cryogenic technology that promotes uniformity in the formation of ice crystals during freeze-drying (lyophilization) processes for proteins, vaccines and other injectable pharmaceutical products. Lyophilization involves freezing a solution of the product, then reducing the surrounding pressure to allow the water to sublimate...
September 1, 2012
A move toward bio-based malic acid... Novozymes A/S (Copenhagen, Denmark; has developed a strain of metabolically engineered Aspergillus oryzae fungus that is capable of producing the four-carbon, dicarboxylic acid compound malic acid. The chemical building block malic acid is used as a flavor enhancer in the food industry, and can be converted into 1,4-butanediol (BDO), which serves as...
June 1, 2012
Proterro Inc. (Princeton, N.J.; www. has demonstrated technology for directly producing sucrose as a feedstock for bio-based chemicals and biofuels that avoids the need for cellulosic biomass and energy crops. Using a genetically engineered strain of photosynthetic cyanobacteria and a unique photobioreactor system, Proterro is able to generate a clean...
May 1, 2012
This month, Borregaard Industries Ltd. (Sarpsborg, Norway; will start up an integrated, pilot-demonstration plant to further develop a new pretreatment process for converting biomass into lignin and fermentable sugars. Located at the company’s R&D Center in Sarpsborg, the pilot plant will convert up to two metric tons (m.t.) of feedstock per day. The fully integrated facility...
May 1, 2012
The technology surrounding a hydrolysis- and fermentation-based process that is capable of utilizing municipal solid waste (MSW) and biomass waste to produce cellulosic bioethanol at low cost is now available for licensing from its developer, TMO Renewables Ltd. (Guildford, U.K.; Several of the cost-saving measures depend on the capabilities of a heat-loving bacterium that has been...
March 1, 2012
The first commercial-scale biobutanol plant using the Gevo Integrated Fermentation Technology (GIFT) process is set to come online in mid-2012 at the former site of an ethanol facility in Minnesota. In late January, Gevo (Englewood, Colo.; was awarded a U.S. patent for the GIFT separation technology, a key component of the process that allows the separation of C3–C6 alcohols from the...
February 1, 2012
Oji Paper Co. (OJI;, in collaboration with Nippon Steel Engineering Co. ( and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST; all Tokyo, Japan;, has started pilot testing of a new, integrated process for making cellulose-based ethanol from fast-growing trees, such as eucalyptus. The pilot facility, located at OJI’s Kure...
November 1, 2011
Sugar is a critical feedstock for many emerging bio-based-chemical and biofuel processes, but harvesting sugar from low-value, nonfood biomass cost-effectively and at large scale remains a challenge. Renmatix Inc. (King of Prussia, Pa.; has developed a process that uses water above its critical temperature and pressure to hydrolyze a range of biomass materials to make C5 and C6 sugars...
October 1, 2011
A technique that improves the efficiency of ethanol plants by lowering the cost of dewatering the byproduct stillage (a slurry of corn solids and water) from the fermentation process has been developed by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Eastern Regional Research Center (Wyndmoor, Pa.; The process has been demonstrated at full scale in a commercial plant...
September 1, 2011
Metabolix Inc. (Cambridge, Mass.; has successfully demonstrated and completed research and development for scaleup on a fermentation process that produces gamma -butyrolactone (GBL) from genetically engineered bacteria. The process is built upon the company’s technology for engineering metabolic pathways into microbes that produce specific biopolymers. “We’ve been able...
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