The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded SunEthanol a $100,000 research grant to help America develop clean transportation fuels from a variety of non-food feedstocks, including corn stover, bagasse, switchgrass, sorghum, softwoods like pine, and high lignin poplar. This is the third DOE grant that SunEthanol has been awarded in the past year.
According to the company, this latest grant will support SunEthanol as it pioneers a new process to simplify the production of clean ethanol fuel from two complex steps – hydrolysis and fermentation – into one simple step.
The company’s patented process, known as Complete Cellulose Conversion or “C3,” will be cheaper than the current process that uses enzymes to convert corn starch to fuel. Relying on a unique microbe discovered in Massachusetts, the Q MicrobeTM, SunEthanol’s C3 process has the potential to be the ultimate low-cost configuration for cellulosic ethanol technology.