A University of Florida scientist is starting to see 20 years of research bear fuel.
The Palm Beach Post reports Dr. Lonnie Ingram, director of the Florida Center for Renewable Chemicals and Fuel at UF in Gainesville, has spent more than 20 years on scientific work that uses E. coli bacteria to convert plant waste into ethanol.
But UF only recently licensed Dedham, Mass.-based Celunol Corp. to use Ingram’s technology at an ethanol plant in Jennings, La., expected to break ground in the next few months. A small pilot plant has been operating there. Sugar cane bagasse – the pulp or fiber left after sugar cane is crushed for its juice – will be the Louisiana plant’s feedstock. A Japanese consortium led by Marubeni Corp. is also using the method to produce 1 million gallons of ethanol a year at a plant in Osaka, Japan, from wood from torn-down houses.