Ethanol is commonly referred to simply as alcohol or spirits. It is also called ethyl alcohol, and drinking alcohol. It is the principal type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts.
The principle fuel used as a petrol substitute for road transport vehicles is bioethanol. Bioethanol fuel is mainly produced by the sugar fermentation process. We are able to supply technology for ethanol production on a farm scale and larger.
Some of our projects are using technology for second generation bioethanol. Second generation ethanol, also known as cellulosic ethanol, is a biofuel produced by the transformation of non-edible raw materials like wood, switch grass, bagasse, forestry and agricultural waste. The problem that second generation biofuel processes are addressing is to extract useful feedstocks from this woody or fibrous biomass, where the useful sugars are locked in by lignin, hemicellulose and cellulose. All plants contain lignin, hemicellulose and cellulose. These are complex carbohydrates (molecules based on sugar). Lignocellulosic ethanol is made by freeing the sugar molecules from cellulose using enzymes, steam heating, or other pre-treatments. These sugars can then be fermented to produce ethanol in the same way as first generation bioethanol production. The by-product of this process is lignin. Lignin can be burned as a carbon neutral fuel to produce heat and power for the processing plant and possibly for surrounding homes and businesses.
Our team has re-developed well know technologies, with the goal of reducing the costs, improving the performance and providing maximum raw material flexibility and the possibility to use the lignin produced as an energy source. Resulting in high quality product and low operation and equipment costs.
ABE (acetone, butanol, ethanol) fermentation has a great industrial past but has been outcompeted by the petrochemical industry. Due to new developments in biotechnology, there has been renewed interest in fermentative production of butanol, a platform chemical and alternative biofuel. To date, high substrate costs and low volumetric productivity remain significant bottlenecks that preclude large-scale application of ABE fermentation. By using our combined experience in biomass pretreatment, fermentation, separation technology and energy system design, we are developing new concepts for conversion of biomass. The ultimate goal is to design a new, efficient and economically viable bioprocess for the conversion of low-cost cellulosic feedstocks into products such as Acetone, Butanol and Ethanol.