#1: The secret is out about Genomatica’s 1,3 butylene glycol
We reported this summer the biggest news: Genomatica’s Bio-BG butylene glycol using their new GENO BG process, which makes a naturally sourced 1,3 butylene glycol. Production already has started in 85,000 liter fermentation tanks at EW Biotech in Leuna, Germany.
While the GENO BG process was developed in stealth mode, the secret is out and its advancement has been super-fast, even beating out Genomatica’s GENO BDO process which quickly hit milestones on plant performance guarantees and worldwide production.
We thought GENO BDO (1,4 butanediol) was pretty cool, especially when it was scaled up so quickly, so why do we think GENO BG is too? Genomatica’s new biobased process technology makes a naturally sourced butylene glycol that can replace the existing fossil fuel derived acetaldehyde that is toxic, an irritant and a carcinogen. Not good considering butylene glycol is used in many cosmetics to improve moisture retention and as a carrier for plant extracts, and many consumers are now demanding healthier products.
#2: Cargill, Evolva to bring next-gen sweetener to scale
In April, we reported that Cargill and Evolva inked a major collaboration pact for the production and commercialization of EverSweet, the next-generation stevia sweetener. This product is on track for a 2018 launch, securing its first-mover advantage.
#3: Amyris, DARPA and Living Foundries
Back in September 2015, we reported that Amyris inked a multi-year agreement with the US Defense Advance Research Projects Agency to create new research and development tools and technologies — compressing the time to market for any new molecule by at least 10-fold in both time and cost.
The story expanded this summer when we heard from Amyris that it had completed strain engineering and optimization to 26 key metabolic precursors across multiple organisms – including many different pathways beyond terpenoids allows Amyris to develop an industrial-scale fermentation process for virtually any biological molecule.
#4: Epic cellulosic projection shift at EPA
Last week, we reported on Jeremy Martin’s incisive analysis of EPA’s doings. We reported on his clear demonstration of how the Environmental Protection Agency shifted gears in mid-June by scrapping the cellulosic biofuel target based on corn kernel technology that has been successfully ramping up and instead focusing on the slow-to-commercialization large-scale facilities that haven’t performed as well as they should have.
#5: New applications
In July, we reported that KnipBio completed the last phase in producing its new aquaculture feed, KnipBio Feed and is now looking to partner with biofuel industry leaders to get to commercial scale fermentation. As reported in Biofuels Digest before, KnipBio developed a series of naturally occurring microbes that convert low-cost feedstock into premium, nutritious, single-cell proteins laden with pigment-enhancing carotenoids to produce healthier, more vibrant fish.
#6 Effective combinations are the ticket: QCCP
Last August we reported that Quad County Corn Processors reported a 26 percent increase in ethanol production after a recently-completed trial. The trial consisted of a combination of Cellerate process technology and Enogen corn. Brotherson said this dramatic increase was achieved by realizing an additional 6 percent yield per bushel from converting kernel fiber into cellulosic ethanol, plus a 20 percent throughput increase by combining Cellerate with Enogen.
#7: There’s hot tech right inside the landfill
Usually, we report on landfill waste as a feedstock, but we reported in August that a new research paper in mSphere identified the enzymes which degrade natural materials such as paper and clothing in landfill sites. Scientists have been searching for a number of years for the most effective enzymes which break down the cellulose and lignin within the residual natural fibers. The obvious place to search has been in the rumen of sheep and cows, who eat grasses, and the guts of also other plant eaters such as elephants and termites.
#8: Feedstock advances
Looking at roadsides –
New frontiers in using food waste
Again, ethanol was in the news in August when researchers from Penn State found a more efficient and less expensive way to convert potato waste into ethanol, which is good news for the more than 20 potato chip manufacturing companies located in the region.
#9: New processes and organisms
High-pressure pre-treatment before fermentation sparks big boost in yield
Last month, we reported that new research from a professor of engineering at UBC’s Okanagan Campus might hold the key to biofuels that are cheaper, safer and much faster to produce. Starting with materials commonly found in agricultural or forestry waste—including wheat straw, corn husks and Douglas fir bark—she compared traditional fermentation processes with their new technique and found that Douglas fir bark in particular could produce methane 172 per cent faster than before.
In June, we reported that Xylogenics released a new strain design for its patented GX-1 yeast production and fermentation process
Advances in e.coli
In July, we reported that researchers at Arizona State University wanted to squeeze out more energy from xylose sugars. To do so, they challenged E. coli bacteria that could thrive comfortably on glucose — and switch out the growth medium broth to grow solely on xylose
#10 Effective Execution
In our Thought Leadership series, experts like Mark Warner and Jeff Lievense regularly share the latest on effective execution in taking advanced fermentation processes to scale.