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Municipal solid waste is one feedstock for this bioethanol process

By Scott Jenkins |

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.; www.tmo-group.com). Several of the cost-saving measures depend on the capabilities of a heat-loving bacterium that has been developed by TMO to metabolize a wide range of sugars, including oligomeric C5 and C6 sugars into ethanol at high yields. “Because the organism is so effective at metabolizing a range of sugars, our pretreatment process requires less chemicals, our hydrolysis step requires less enzymes and our fermentation step requires lower residence time,” explains Robert Parker, TMO’s CEO. The heat-loving bacterium used in the fermentation is the result of a long screening process led by the late Tony Atkinson, a professor who co-founded the company. The company developed and applied a number of proprietary metabolic engineering techniques to create a gene-knockout strain of bacteria that produces ethanol in high amounts. While the process technology — pre-treatment, hydrolysis, fermentation and distillation — has…
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