BUTALCO to produce first amounts of bioethanol from lignocellulosic biomass

Hünenberg, (PresseBox) - BUTALCO develops new production processes for second generation biofuels, like bioethanol and biobutanol, based on lignocellulose. The core technology is based on genetically optimised yeasts (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) which, contrary to established yeasts, are able to ferment C5 sugars (xylose and arabinose) found in lignocellulosic biomass. BUTALCO's yeasts enable increased yields in biofuel production, and the production of biofuels at competitive prices below that of conventional fuels and established biofuels today.

Yeasts as production organisms for bioethanol, biobutanol and other products have decisive advantages compared to other microorganisms. With yeasts having a high acceptance among established biofuel producers in North America, Brazil or Europe, it is much more probable that they will use yeasts rather than bacteria should they switch from starch-based to lignocellulose-based biofuels.

As a first important step towards the commercial production of ethanol and butanol from lignocellulose, BUTALCO has recently signed a research and development contract with Hohenheim University. The collaboration will allow BUTALCO to optimise its C5 sugar fermenting and butanol producing yeast strains on a technical scale and produce first amounts of bioethanol from lignocellulose. The whole process of the production of biofuel from the choice of cellulosic biomass feedstock to the conversion into sugars and fermentation through to the purification will be optimised under industrial conditions.

Hohenheim University will be closely cooperating with the Institute of Molecular Biosciences at Frankfurt University (Head Prof. Dr. Eckhard Boles), which has been successfully working together with BUTALCO on a number of projects for the past 2 years. Through the cooperation the newly constructed yeasts will be adjusted to meet industrial needs.

About Hohenheim University

The Institute of Fermentation Technology within the Department of Food Science and Biotechnology at Hohenheim University (Head Prof. Dr. Ralf Koelling-Paternoga / Project Leader Priv.-Doz. Dr. Thomas Senn) has been concerned with questions on the production of bioethanol for almost 30 years. The focus in recent years has been on the improvement of the material, energy and life cycle assessment of the production of ethanol. Special interest to BUTALCO is the use of the newly built pilot plant, which is equipped with a safety class 1 approved fermentation room with 4 x 1.5 m³ fermenters. The concept of the plant allows both starch and lignocellulosic based raw materials to be processed.

Butalco GmbH

BUTALCO develops new production processes for second generation biofuels and biochemicals based on lignocellulose. The core technology based on genetically optimised yeasts enables increased yields in bioethanol production and the production of biobutanol. BUTALCO is currently finalising the technology to use C5/C6 sugars for bioethanol production. Furthermore, BUTALCO is working together with partners to develop an integrated lignocellulose-based bioethanol/biobutanol production process. The development covers the whole process chain including all production steps from lignocellulose hydrolysis to downstream processing.

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