Companies to Produce Miscanthus for Biodiesel

John Davis

Miscanthus1A bioenergy technology company and a biomaterials processing technology and deployment company are partnering to turn miscanthus into biodiesel. This article from Biodiesel Magazine says the deal combines Algenetix Inc.’s proprietary, trademarked PhotoSeed technology and Alchimia Inc.’s oil extraction and purification technology.

Giant miscanthus has been seen as an alternative to corn for cellulosic ethanol as well as a source of biomass for heat and power generation. The partnership transforms miscanthus into a large-scale, next-generation “seedless oil” crop capable of addressing not only the ethanol and biomass markets, but the sizeable European and U.S. markets for biodiesel, biojet fuel and specialty products.

“The Alchimia partnership allows us to unlock the true value of PhotoSeed as applied to energy grasses,” said Han Chen, CEO of Algenetix. “We can now not only increase oil content in miscanthus biomass, but with Alchimia’s extraction technologies we have a path to market for a range of renewable fuels and high value oil soluble coproducts.”

PhotoSeed is the first technology to successfully produce synthetic seed-like oil bodies in the vegetative material of plants without negatively impacting plant health. Algenetix has been able to increase lipid content to as much as 8 percent of the total biomass. Alchimia’s novel process can unlock the potential values of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids sequestered within biomaterials while segregating and purifying high value microcompounds often overlooked within commodity processing.

A recent study shows that more than 150 million acres of abandoned and degraded cropland in the U.S. could be used for biofuels crops, such as miscanthus, without cutting into food crops and pasture lands.