Lallemand Announces TransFerm Yield Patent

Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits (LBDS) along with Mascoma, LLC have been awarded a patent for the technology used in TransFerm Yield+ in the US (US 8,956,851 B2). As explained in Lallemand company materials, this yeast product provides for novel metabolic pathways that reduce or Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 1.56.54 PMeliminate glycerol production subsequently increase ethanol yield by yeast or other microorganisms.

“We are extremely proud to have introduced these products into the marketplace. This drop-in, game-changing technology is one example of how our Mascoma business unit has produced real results,” said Angus Ballard, president, LBDS. “To be able to increase yields and thus increase the profitability of ethanol plants, at a time where margins are tight, is huge. This is just the beginning of a long line of Mascoma developed products that will be brought into the market by our team.”

During the past three years, LBDS and Mascoma introduced TransFerm and TransFerm Yield+ yeasts into the ethanol industry citing that the products help reduce the amount of glucoamylase needed in fermentation and also provide a substantial yield increase through the introduction of the glycerol reduction pathway. Today more than 50 ethanol plants have utilized the TransFerm platform producing over 4 billion gallons of ethanol.

Kevin Wenger, executive vice president of Mascoma, added, “Development of this technology is the result of years of dedicated R&D effort by Mascoma. We are quite pleased that the U.S. Patent Office has allowed the patent; we believe it shows how innovative and significant this new approach really is. TransFerm Yield+ is truly the first product of its kind to offer this type of step change technology in ethanol production.”

Novozymes Sees Positive Outlook for 2015

Novozymes 2014 annual reportNovozymes saw solid growth in 2014 and increased sales by 7 percent as compared to 2013. The company also reports that the outlook for 2015 is good. Following a strategic business review, the company has released a new purpose statement, strategy and updated long-term targets. Through 2020, Novozymes targets annual organic sales growth of 8-10 percent on average. Novozymes is best known in the biofuels and biomaterials (biochemicals) markets for its enzymes.

”2014 was a good year for Novozymes with 7% organic sales growth and a record EBIT margin”, said Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen. “Bioenergy was the strongest growth driver, making up for slower growth in Food & Beverages and Household Care. Our growth platforms showed good progress, and in particular I’m excited about how well The BioAg Alliance has gotten off the ground.

“Novozymes is in a strong position today. Our technologies and solutions are in high demand. Going forward, we believe partnering will become more important for bringing innovation to customers,” continued Holk. “This is the outset for our new purpose and strategy – Partnering for impact. In extension of this, we’ve updated our long-term targets. Long-term organic sales growth is expected to be slightly lower than the previous target, whereas we increase the long-term targets for EBIT margin and return on invested capital. In the midst of a slow recovery and volatile markets, we expect 2015 to be another good year for Novozymes.”

Novozymes Offers Enzyme for Waste Oil to Biodiesel

novozymesWaste cooking oil-to-biodiesel operations are getting some help as biotech company Novozymes introduces a new enzyme just for that kind of operation. This company news release says Novozymes Eversa® is the first commercially available enzymatic solution to make biodiesel from waste oils and gives producers more feedstock selection at lower costs.

Growing demand for vegetable oil in the food industry has resulted in increased prices, causing biodiesel producers to search for alternative – and more sustainable – feedstocks. Most of the oils currently used are sourced from soybeans, palm or rapeseed, and typically contain less than 0.5% free fatty acids (FFA). Existing biodiesel process designs have difficulty handling oils containing more than 0.5% FFA, meaning that waste oils with high FFAs have not been a viable feedstock option until now.

“The idea of enzymatic biodiesel is not new, but the costs involved have been too high for commercial viability,” says Frederik Mejlby, marketing director for Novozymes’ Grain Processing division. “Eversa changes this and enables biodiesel producers to finally work with waste oils and enjoy feedstock flexibility to avoid the pinch of volatile pricing.”

Novozymes officials say Eversa will work with a broad range of fatty materials as feedstock, although initially intended for used cooking oil, DDGS corn oil and fatty acid distillates. They do say most biodiesel producers would have to convert their plants to an enzymatic process.

“The enzymatic process uses less energy, and the cost of waste oil as a feedstock is significantly lower than refined oils,” says Frederik Mejlby. “A small number of plants have been producing biodiesel from waste oils using existing technologies. But this has not been cost-efficient until now, broadly speaking, as the waste oils have had to be refined before being processed using chemicals. We hope that our technology can unleash more of the potential in these lower grade feedstocks.”

Cellerate Receives D3 RIN Certification

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given D3 Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) certification to Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) for its cellulosic ethanol produced with Cellerate Cellerate Processprocess technology. The technology is a collaboration between Syngenta and Cellulosic Ethanol Technologies, a subsidiary of QCCP. The biorefinery earned D3 pathway approval from the EPA on Oct. 7, 2014 and Quality Assurance Program (QAP) certification on Oct. 10, 2014. Clearing these hurdles led to production of QCCP’s first QAP D3 RINs on Oct. 16, 2014.

To qualify as cellulosic biofuel, a renewable fuel must meet a 60 percent threshold (aka reduction) for lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions. RINs are used for compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and may be “banked,” traded or sold for use by parties (fuel producers and importers) who must comply with the RFS.

According to QCCP Chief Executive Officer Delayne Johnson, as cellulosic D3 RINs become available on the commercial market, biofuels opponents will no longer be able say there are no D3 RINs as a strategy to weaken the RFS. “The biofuels industry now has the technology available to create two billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol – with no more corn,” said Johnson. “QCCP is proud to be one of the first companies to issue D3 RINs. We look forward to higher D3 RIN requirements in 2015 as new production comes on.”

QCCP expects to produce one million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2014 and two million gallons in 2015. Earlier this year.

“Cellerate is designed to increase an ethanol plant’s production by allowing the corn kernel fiber to be converted into cellulosic ethanol,” added Jack Bernens, head of marketing and stakeholder relations for Enogen corn enzyme technology. “Ethanol plants can easily integrate Cellerate process technology into their existing production process. Cellerate, in conjunction with Enogen corn, will deliver notable benefits to ethanol plants beyond what can be achieved through either technology alone.”

Researchers Discover Cellulose Making Enzyme Structure

Researchers from Purdue University have discovered the structure of the enzyme that makes cellulose. They believe this finding could lead to easier ways of breaking down plant materials to make biofuels and other products and materials. In addition the researchers say the findings provide a more detailed glimpse of the complicated process by which cellulose is produced. Cellulose is the foundation of the plant cell wall and can be converted to bioproducts such as biofuels and biochemicals. The research findings were published in The Plant Cell.

“Despite the abundance of cellulose, the nitty-gritty of how it is made is still a mystery,” said Nicholas Carpita, professor of plant biology. “Now we’re getting down to the molecular structure of the individual enzyme proteins that synthesize cellulose.”

carpita-n14Carpita explains that cellulose is composed of several dozen strands of glucose sugars linked together in a cablelike structure and condensed into a crystal. The rigidity of cellulose allows plants to stand upright and lends wood its strength. “Pound for pound, cellulose is stronger than steel,” said Carpita.

A large protein complex synthesizes cellulose at the surface of the plant cell. The basic unit of this complex is an enzyme known as cellulose synthase. The protein complex contains up to 36 of these enzymes, each of which has a region known as the catalytic domain, the site where single sugars are added to an ever-lengthening strand of glucose that will be fixed in the plant cell wall as one of the strands in the cellulose “cable.”

Carpita and a team of researchers used X-ray scattering to show that cellulose synthase is an elongated molecule with two regions – the catalytic domain and a smaller region that couples with another cellulose synthase enzyme to form a dimer, two molecules that are stuck together. These dimers are the fundamental building blocks of the much larger protein complex that produces cellulose.

“Determining the shape of cellulose synthase and how it fits together into the protein complex represents a significant advance in understanding how these plant enzymes work,” Carpita said. Continue reading

Increasing Ethanol Plant Throughput

ace14-enogen-lopezSyngenta’s Enogen corn trait technology is the first genetically modified output trait in corn specifically for the ethanol industry and in the past two years since it has been released the industry has seen increasing adoption.

“We’re a new product that’s been adopted by 6-8 plants already,” said Paul Lopez with Syngenta who gave a break out session at the American Coalition for Ethanol conference on how Enogen is helping plants increase throughput. Giving the presentation with him was Tory Kort with Chief Ethanol Fuels in Nebraska, which uses Enogen corn, who shared the results they have seen. “Our enzyme is pretty unique in terms of how it works … it really reduces starches down, making more sugars available, increasing the plant’s efficiencies, so increasing yield and increasing throughput,” added Lopez.

The first plant to adopt Enogen was Quad County Corn Processors, which produced the first gallons of cellulosic ethanol just last month. “They’ve been using our product for two years now,” said Lopez. “This is a win-win. The ethanol plant wins, the local grower wins, the local community wins.”Interview with Paul Lopez, Syngenta Enogen

27th Annual Ethanol Conference photo album

Increasing Ethanol Yield

cutc-14-novozymesOne way enzyme technology can help ethanol plants is by yielding more ethanol per bushel of corn.

At the recent Corn Utilization and Technology Conference, Nathan Kreel with Novozymes talked about Olexa, a unique enzyme designed for oil recovery. “We developed it mainly to enhance corn oil extraction for the customer, but we are seeing there are a lot of other benefits,” he said. That includes an increase in ethanol yield, better yeast health, and more efficient fermentation.

“The most important thing is that we see back end process improvements with an average of 13% oil increase,” Kreel said. “It’s a simple drop-in product that is added right to the fermentation and you can see improvements right when it’s used.”

Learn more in this interview: Interview with Nathan Kreel, Novozymes

2014 CUTC Photo Album

Novozymes Touts Enzyme-Catalyzed Biodiesel

novozymesEnzymes could be the key to making biodiesel from low-quality oils. This article from The American Oil Chemists’ Society’s Inform magazine says Novozymes, a biotech company specializing in enzyme technology, is touting biodiesel production at Blue Sun Biodiesel in St. Joseph, Missouri and Vieselfuel LLC in Stuart, Fla., based on using lipase as catalyst.

Production at both sites has been in operation for over a year now. Novozymes has been the enzyme supplier and partner, and the accomplishment of full-scale production is the result of lengthy, dedicated research and development work.

The new lipase technology enables the processing of oil feedstocks with any concentration of free fatty acids and with lower energy costs than with a standard chemical catalyst…

Use of the liquid lipases was a breakthrough, as they are much cheaper to produce and provide technological as well as cost benefits. By using the lipase Novozymes Callera Trans®, it is possible to produce biodiesel from a large variety of oil qualities. The ability to produce biodiesel from feedstock regardless of its FFA content ultimately makes the process a more cost-efficient way to produce biodiesel.

The article goes on to say that Novozymes is finishing up the development of the enzymatic biodiesel application and expects to launch the concept later this year.

The same magazine features another article on using a new proprietary solid catalyst process developed by Benefuel to make biodiesel. We’ll have details on that story tomorrow.

DEINOVE & SUEZ Enter Into Waste to Ethanol Project

DEINOVE has entered into a collaborative agreement with SUEZ ENVIRONMENT Group to explore the potential for developing a new industrial sector for transforming urban organic waste into ethanol through the use of Deinococcus bacteria. The goal of the two-year agreement is to define the optimum conditions for producing ethanol on a per-industrious scale.

Today, organic waste is essentially recycled through composting and methanization. The abundant availability of this source of carbon, its cost and its composition, which is favorable to the growth of microorganisms, make it a realistic candidate for innovative recycling into molecules of industrial interest, including commodities, according to DEINOVE.

Deinoccoccus bacteria“With its amazing capacity for effectively degrading all types of biomass, Deinococcus creates value from waste that is little used today,” said Emmanuel Petiot, CEO of DEINOVE. “In cooperation with SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, one of the world leaders in processing and recycling waste, we are expanding our potential markets and are contributing to the development of a real circular economy.”

During the past six months, DEINOVE has been working with SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT who has been providing various types of waste coming from its processing units. The results of this upstream research phase have confirmed that these substrates can be transformed into interesting molecules, including ethanol, by Deinococcus bacteria.

As a result of the R&D, the partners have decided to undertake a two-year collaborative extension of their DEINOL programme. The first phase will focus on optimizing the main stages of the process’ development including: choice of substrates supplied by SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT and pretreatment conditions; choice of a Deinococcus strain adapted to these substrates; and the definition of the conditions for fermentative production in order to achieve a satisfactory ethanol production rate in 20-L bioreactors.

Biodiesel Adds Value, Diversification to Ethanol Ops

biodiesel_and_ethanol_fuel_pumps_at_retail_fuel_station_e85__e10_ethanol_b5_b20_biodiesel_mind_J53-1369484It’s not a brand new idea, but the concept of co-locating ethanol and biodiesel plants has been catching on more and more lately. This article from Biodiesel Magazine talks about how ethanol refiners are looking to take their by-product, distillers corn oil (DCO), and turn it into biodiesel to add value to those ethanol plants already on the ground, while diversifying their operations.

“Over the past several years, biodiesel margins have been really strong,” says Ray Baker, general manager for Adkins Energy LLC, a 50 MMgy ethanol refinery in Lena, Ill. Adkins Energy announced last fall that it has contracted with WB Services to install a 2 MMgy biodiesel facility on-site with help from a $500,000 grant from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program. “But one of the reasons I think we really like the project and the idea behind it,” Baker says, “is that we are already producing a conventional biofuel—corn-based ethanol—and we’ll now be producing an advanced biofuel in biodiesel, and I know in the future we’ll have the opportunity to be producing cellulosic ethanol. So we look at all aspects of the RFS and the growth that’s really built into that, and we see those opportunities.”

In recent years, DCO has emerged as one of the fastest-growing biodiesel feedstocks, and the technologies to effectively convert DCO to biodiesel have been improving. “I think once they got to that point, that helped the technology evolve and the idea behind it become more economical to install into a plant,” he says. “Before, the size of biodiesel plants was much larger, and now I think bolting them onto ethanol technologies on a smaller scale has become economical.”

The article goes on to talk about how better integration of the two fuels’ technologies is making these co-located plants more feasible. In addition, new technologies for brewing biodiesel, especially enzymatic technologies in the pretreatment of the corn oil and replacing the usual biodiesel catalyst methanol with the already available ethanol, are making biodiesel-ethanol operations more likely.