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Archives :: Chementator :: Bioprocessing

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March 1, 2014
Construction is underway in France on a pilot plant for what is believed to be the first fermentation process capable of directly producing the light olefin isobutene. Global Bioenergies (Evry, France; expects to begin operations of a 500-L fermentation facility in the second half of 2014 and plans to follow that with a 5,000-L fermenter in Germany the following year. Isobutene...
March 1, 2014
A new chemical process is set to create bio-based p-xylene from cellulosic waste. Micromidas (West Sacramento, Calif.; opened a pilot plant in December 2013 that converts cellulosic waste materials, such as rice hulls, switchgrass, sawdust and cardboard to bio-based p-xylene. The Micromidas process is unusual in that it does not require the cellulose to be saccharified first, and both...
March 1, 2014
A new process-intensification technology to accelerate the rate of enzymatic reactions has been developed by researchers from the Dept. of Chemical Engineering, University of Bath (U.K.; The so-called spinning cloth disc reactor (SCDR) is based on, but extends the principles of, the conventional spinning disc reactor (SDR). The SCDR also uses centrifugal forces to allow the spread of a...
January 1, 2014
Australian researchers have developed a method of cleaning arsenic out of contaminated water by combining the effects of bacteria and microalgae. Professor Megh Mallavarapu and his team, from the Cooperative Research Center for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE; and the University of South Australia (both Mawson Lakes, South Australia;
January 1, 2014
Extraction of palm oil generates large amounts of lignocellulose-rich byproduct known as empty fruit bunch (EFB), which is usually wasted. A new process for utilizing this waste to make lactic acid has been developed by a team of researchers in Singapore. Up to now, it has been difficult to find cost-effective processes for the production of L-lactic acid, which has inhibited the commercial production of...
January 1, 2014
Professor Takao Masuda and colleagues at Hokkaido University (Sapporo;, in collaboration with Idemitsu Kosan Co. (Idemitsu; Tokyo; both Japan;, have developed a two-step process that converts wood-based lignin into phenols...
December 1, 2013
The National Food Research Institute (NFRI) of the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO; Tsukuba City, Japan; has developed an enzymatic pretreatment process for producing highly concentrated sugar solution from fibrous materials containing rice straw and starch. The process can be used for producing specific sugar solutions, depending on the local raw materials...
December 1, 2013
The effluent discharged by domestic industries in Japan amounts to approximately 11.1 billion ton/yr. Most of this waste is comprised of relatively low concentrations of organic matter. Today, most of this effluent is treated by aerobic biotreatment (activated sludge). However, activated sludge treatment not only consumes large amounts of electric power needed to run blowers or fans, but it also produces...
December 1, 2013
A research team from the University of Western Australia (Perth;, led by professor Dongke Zhang, has pioneered the application of higher plants for new-generation biofuel production. Metabolic engineering of Arabidopsis thaliana — a small flowering plant native to Europe and Asia, which was the first plant to have its genome sequenced — caused the plant to produce triterpene...
November 1, 2013
Harvest Power (Waltham, Mass.; recently began operation of the first commercial-scale, high-solids anaerobic digester in North America. The facility produces biogas from food waste and yard waste in Richmond, B.C., Canada. “The anaerobic digester employs essentially the same biology that you would see in the stomachs of...
November 1, 2013
Industrial microbiology continues to hold the promise of producing an increasingly large array of commercially important chemicals because an ever-wider number of useful microbes is being developed and successfully deployed at commercially viable scales. Today, many of these bio-based chemicals are needed in quantities so large that existing fermentation technology is inadequate, and this is pushing the...
September 1, 2013
Researchers from the U.S. Dept. of Energys Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI; Emeryville, Calif.; have reported the first demonstration of a one-pot, wash-free process for the ionic-liquid pretreatment and saccharification of switchgrass — a leading potential biofuel feedstock. By combining ionic liquid pretreatment and saccharification into a single...
August 1, 2013
A process that is expected to produce high-octane gasoline from non-food biomass for an average cost of $1.50/gal, depending on feed costs, will be commercialized by Cool Planet Energy Systems (Denver, Colo.; The company has tested the process in a 200,000-gal/yr pilot plant in Camarillo, Calif., and now plans to install 400 10-million-gal/yr microrefineries across the U.S. by 2020...
July 1, 2013
In April development tests, Cobalt Technologies (Cobalt; Mountain View, Calif; produced n -butanol at the fermentation scale of 100 m3 per run, demonstrating lower production cost than butanol produced from petroleum. This represents production that is a factor of 10 larger than previous trials conducted at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL; Golden, Colo.;
July 1, 2013
On the heels of its successful scaleup of bio-butanol, Cobalt is looking for pathways to use that molecule as a building block for other products. The company has announced plans to build...
July 1, 2013
Squalane, an emollient used in cosmetics, will be the first product of a biotechnology pilot plant now being started up by Nucelis Inc. (San Diego, Calif.;, a spin-off from Cibus (also of San Diego). The plant will use Cibus’ Rapid Trait Development System (RTDS), a new gene-editing technology, to enable naturally occurring yeast to increase their production of squalene, the...
May 1, 2013
Although several antimicrobial hydrogels have been developed in recent years, they all have one or more drawbacks, such as possible toxicity, insufficient stability and biodegradability, and high costs. These and other drawbacks have been overcome with a synthetic hydrogel being developed by researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (Singapore; and IBM...
December 1, 2012
Lately there has been much renewed interest in fermentative production of n-butanol from renewable biomass as an industrial solvent and liquid fuel superior to ethanol that could be used as a substitute for gasoline. An improved butanol production through the reinforcement of the direct butanol-forming route in Clostridium acetobutylicum has been reported by a Korean team, which includes scientists from...
December 1, 2012
A demonstration plant for the production of acetic acid from the carbon dioxide in industrial offgases will be built at an operating plant of Petronas (Kuala Lumpur;, Malaysia’s national oil company, under an agreement with LanzaTech (Roselle, Ill.;, developer of the process. Scheduled for startup in late 2013, the plant will be similar in size to a...
December 1, 2012
Newlight Technologies (Irvine, Calif.; has launched commercial production of a polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) thermoplastic made from air and greenhouse gases, such as methane, that can be manufactured less expensively than conventional petroleum-derived alternatives, using a novel high-efficiency biocatalyst and bioreactor system. While considerable effort has previously been directed toward...
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