Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Trash today, ethanol tomorrow
University of Maryland via biologynews.net ^ | March 11, 2008 | NA

Posted on 03/11/2008 1:01:04 AM PDT by neverdem

University of Maryland research that started with bacteria from the Chesapeake Bay has led to a process that may be able to convert large volumes of all kinds of plant products, from leftover brewer’s mash to paper trash, into ethanol and other biofuel alternatives to gasoline.

That process, developed by University of Maryland professors Steve Hutcheson and Ron Weiner, is the foundation of their incubator company Zymetis, which was on view today in College Park for Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and state and university officials.

"The new Zymetis technology is a win for the State of Maryland, for the University and for the environment,” said University of Maryland President C.D. Mote, Jr. "It makes affordable ethanol production a reality and makes it from waste materials, which benefits everyone and supports the green-friendly goal of carbon-neutrality.

“It also highlights the importance of transformational basic research and of technology incubators at the University. Partnership with the State enables University of Maryland faculty and students to commercialize new discoveries quickly.”

“Today, Marylanders are leading the nation in scientific discovery and technology innovation,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “We must continue to invest in Marylanders like Steve Hutcheson and in their revolutionary ideas to protect our environment, create jobs, and improve lives.”

75 Billion Gallons a Year

The Zymetis process can make ethanol and other biofuels from many different types of plants and plant waste called cellulosic sources. Cellulosic biofuels can be made from non- grain plant sources such as waste paper, brewing byproducts, leftover agriculture products, including straw, corncobs and husks, and energy crops such as switchgrass.

When fully operational, the Zymetis process could potentially lead to the production of 75 billion gallons a year of carbon-neutral ethanol.

The secret to the Zymetis process is a Chesapeake Bay marsh grass bacterium, S. degradans. Hutcheson found that the bacterium has an enzyme that could quickly break down plant materials into sugar, which can then be converted to biofuel.

The Zymetis researchers were unable to isolate the Bay bacterium again in nature, but they discovered how to produce the enzyme in their own laboratories. The result was Ethazyme, which degrades the tough cell walls of cellulosic materials and breaks down the entire plant material into bio-fuel ready sugars in one step, at a significantly lower cost and with fewer caustic chemicals than current methods.

Hutcheson projects a $5 billion enzyme market for biofuels. The energy bill passed by the U.S. Senate in December mandates oil companies to blend in 21 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol with their gasoline by 2022.

Inventors of the Year

Hutcheson and Weiner won the university’s Office of Technology Commercialization Inventor of the Year Award in 2007 in the Life Science category for their enzyme system invention.

Founded in 2006, Zymetis entered the university’s MTECH VentureAccelerator Program, which provides hands-on business assistance to faculty and students interested in forming companies around university-created technologies. “MTECH VentureAccelerator helped us validate our market,” says Hutcheson. “They found space for our company. They helped us with licensing our technology, forming financial and business plans, and establishing trademarks.”

Zymetis also sought expertise from MTECH’s Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility (BSF) staff to determine how to mass-produce S. degradans. The BSF is part of the MTECH Biotechnology Research and Education Program, an initiative dedicated to research, education and the development of biotechnology products and processes for Maryland companies.

Source : University of Maryland


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: biotechnology; cellulosicethanol; energy; ethanol; ethazyme; opec
Complete Cellulase System in the Marine Bacterium Saccharophagus degradans Strain 2-40T
1 posted on 03/11/2008 1:01:05 AM PDT by neverdem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Converting trash to ethanol is a much better idea than taking food from people’s mouths to do it.
We are headed for the ethanol recession thanks to our government’s ethanol policies. The cost of food and fuel are both skyrocketing because of ethanol.

The US government is on the verge of creating man-made famine, as Stalin did in the Ukraine.


2 posted on 03/11/2008 1:43:06 AM PDT by counterpunch (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl32Y7wDVDs)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Converting trash to ethanol is a much better idea than taking food from people’s mouths to do it.
We are headed for the ethanol recession thanks to our government’s ethanol policies. The cost of food and fuel are both skyrocketing because of ethanol.

The US government is on the verge of creating man-made famine, as Stalin did in the Ukraine.


3 posted on 03/11/2008 1:45:06 AM PDT by counterpunch (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl32Y7wDVDs)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Wow this is hugh.

Going with methanol in temperate climates made sense because you couldn’t grow sugar cane, but with this bacterium’s global enzyme capacity, you don’t even need methanol.

Now we just need all our cars to go flex fuel and we can defund the islamo-fascists.


4 posted on 03/11/2008 1:48:21 AM PDT by GEC (We're not drilling in ANWR because....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
The Zymetis process can make ethanol and other biofuels from many different types of plants and plant waste called cellulosic sources. Cellulosic biofuels can be made from non- grain plant sources such as waste paper, brewing byproducts, leftover agriculture products, including straw, corncobs and husks, and energy crops such as switchgrass.

Better than converting all that food (corn) into an inefficient fuel. Now, if someone can find a way to boost the energy content of alcohol we might have something.
On the downside, the intended biomatter trash is currently used in Hampton Roads to produce electricity.

5 posted on 03/11/2008 3:04:11 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: R. Scott
if someone can find a way to boost the energy content of alcohol we might have something.

That exact thought has been going through my mind for a while. I have to wonder, if we can turn a solid hydrocarbon (plant material) into alcohol, why can't we turn alcohol into gasoline, or even turn the solid hydrocarbons into gasoline?

I know that these kinds of reactions typically require more energy to realize than they produce, but if we had dedicated nuclear reactors for that purpose, it might make sense (yes, I know the nuclear reactors produce energy, but you can't hang one on the back of a car, and electric cars will almost certainly never be practical).

6 posted on 03/11/2008 3:55:16 AM PDT by Hardastarboard (DemocraticUnderground.com is an internet hate site.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: counterpunch

Yes.. it is better.

But Trash would probably create Methanol.. Not Ethanol. But I think we should be creating the methanol and switch all cars to Flex Fuel... so a vehicle can burn Ethanol, Methanol and Gas.. whatever is available.

it makes sence


7 posted on 03/11/2008 4:47:18 AM PDT by Kitanis (Kitanis,)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

A very interesting bug but it doesn’t convert cellulose to ethanol. I dont think cloning in the pathway for ethanol production will be effective as yield will be limited by the ethanol resistance of the bacterium (which is typically only a few percent). The best application of this bug may be in a pre-processing step to break down the cellulose and hemicellulose components of the feedstock into simple sugars and then add in a strain of high ethanol resistant yeast to do the conversion.


8 posted on 03/11/2008 4:51:34 AM PDT by Hacklehead (Crush the liberals, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the hippies.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: R. Scott

“Now, if someone can find a way to boost the energy content of alcohol we might have something.”

Ethanol has a low energy content because it is a 2 carbon alcohol. Butanol is a better fuel as it has 4 carbons. It also doesnt have the water absorbing problem that ethanol has which promotes corrosion and makes it difficult to transport in pipelines. The problem with butanol is finding organisms that efficiently produce it from sugars.


9 posted on 03/11/2008 4:59:03 AM PDT by Hacklehead (Crush the liberals, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the hippies.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

These folks are a bit late to the party.

http://www.gmnext.com/Details/Thoughts.aspx?id=a64ed1df-1cb4-400b-97a1-20a98d39c753


10 posted on 03/11/2008 5:02:53 AM PDT by Toaster tank
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: counterpunch

Yes, making ethanol out of trash is infinitely better than making it out of food.


11 posted on 03/11/2008 5:11:00 AM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Hasn't Doc Brown been converting trash to fuel for his Flux Capacitor for over 20 years?

12 posted on 03/11/2008 5:12:04 AM PDT by RoadKingSE (How do you know that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't a muzzle flash?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
Although plant cell walls often require consortia of microorganisms to degrade them, S. degradans does this in pure culture

As early as the 1980's people were working with multiple cultures, starting with cellulase taken from the "Jungle Rot" bacteria. This unzipped cellulose into starches, that were cleaved into sugars with diastase, then fermented via zymase to ethanol. But each species required different pH and media, so it was never practical. It is nice to see how deeper understanding of the biological processes can conntribute. One of these days, someone is going to hit the jackpot.

Imagine being able to take all the unsold issues of the New York Times and convert it into SUV and Hummer Fuel..

13 posted on 03/11/2008 5:31:52 AM PDT by Gorzaloon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Hardastarboard

Check out this http://www.changingworldtech.com/
Been doing it for a while using a thermal conversion process. Here is a pdf fact sheet.
http://www.changingworldtech.com/press_room/pdf/cornerstonetech.pdf


14 posted on 03/11/2008 5:45:41 AM PDT by Techster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Gorzaloon

Coskata has moved the ball down the road:

http://www.coskata.com/


15 posted on 03/11/2008 5:47:54 AM PDT by Toaster tank
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: R. Scott
On the downside, the intended biomatter trash is currently used in Hampton Roads to produce electricity.

That's an excellent point and something we have to remember. Our society consumes X amount of energy across the board, be it electricity, gasoline, heating oil or any other energy-carrier. I agree that this proposed technology sounds very interesting and it may allow us to reclaim SOME energy from waste material that would otherwise have been lost. It doesnt produce any NEW power tough, it's merely a method of transfering between different carriers. It must also be combined with an increase in energy production from other sources.

Bottom line, if you remove oil from one side of the equation, you have to add something else on the other side. Producing ethanol from food-crops is not viable for the obvious reasons and solar or wind is not enough to make up for it. Increasing the nuclear power production is the ONLY viable option.

16 posted on 03/11/2008 6:06:28 AM PDT by SwedishConservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Toaster tank
I always look for the fly in the ointment when it is a Press Release, and suspect it is here:

As syngas fermentation leads to lower ethanol concentrations than corn fermentations, the energy and cost to separate the ethanol from water is proportionally higher. To reduce this differential, Coskata has exclusively licensed membrane separation technology to reduce the energy requirements by over 50%.

The vapor permeation process is amenable to separating ethanol from biofermentation broth because of the very low solids content of the broth relative to other fermentation processes.

The membrane separation strategy is clever because it uses so much less energy and cooling water than does distillation, but I see no mention of throughput rates or large scaleups yet...but it sure is worth watching.

17 posted on 03/11/2008 6:22:09 AM PDT by Gorzaloon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Gorzaloon

This statement from Coskata’s Jan 13, 2007 press release tells me more than anything:

“DETROIT, Jan. 13 – General Motors announced a partnership Sunday with Coskata Inc. to use the company’s breakthrough technology...... The partnership includes an undisclosed equity stake for GM”

General Motors is putting their shareholder’s money on the line. That is impressive.


18 posted on 03/11/2008 8:36:06 AM PDT by Toaster tank
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Real Death Star Could Strike Earth (fiery pinwheel in space could zap us with 'gamma ray burst')

Score One for the Microbes

Study Finds Traces of Drugs in Drinking Water in 24 Major U.S. Regions

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

19 posted on 03/11/2008 8:53:27 AM PDT by neverdem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Please add me to the health and science ping list. Thanks.


20 posted on 03/11/2008 9:08:22 AM PDT by Hacklehead (Crush the liberals, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the hippies.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: counterpunch

Maybe if the people in the waste disposal business (I don’t know if you’re familiar with who runs that business but I assure you it’s not the Boy Scouts.) saw a chance at a profit, they could “persuade” their Congresscritters to rearrange policies....


21 posted on 03/11/2008 9:10:47 AM PDT by steve-b (Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense. --RAH)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: counterpunch
Converting trash to ethanol is a much better idea than taking food from people’s mouths to do it.

Do you have any idea how much energy goes INTO producing that trash? And stop to think how much trash it will take to produce the energy we need.

/s

22 posted on 03/11/2008 9:21:08 AM PDT by Balding_Eagle (If America falls, darkness will cover the face of the earth for a thousand years.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: counterpunch

Do you know a damn thing about farming? The statement about a famine tells me you don’t.

I found this on another thread.

Percent change in commodity prices since January 1st
aluminum 29.2
barley 7.5
cocoa 25.9
coffee 23.5
copper 26.3
corn 21.2
cotton 32.0
gold 17.4
lead 32.7
oats 33.8
oil 6.8
silver 37.8
tin 15.5
wheat 32.7
zinc 20.5

Can you explain the government ethanol subsidies distorting all those other commodity prices? Somebody with half a brain could see that we are in the middle of a general commodities price rise because of the low dollar.


23 posted on 03/11/2008 10:08:16 AM PDT by Swiss
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Kitanis

In the long run yes but I don’t want to have to get rid of my current vehicles because methanol is the required fuel. That is the problems with many Freepers solutions. Lets do Biodiesel, well I support it but I can’t use it in my gasoline car. Hydrogen and fuel cells, great ideas but again I am not saving money getting a new car that can run on it.

What we need is more gasoline (we need to drill for oil, build refineries, etc), turn coal into gasoline, and no more than 10% ethanol replacing MBTE and other additives is the current solution.


24 posted on 03/11/2008 10:21:18 AM PDT by Swiss
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Hardastarboard

But the anti-nuke greens would never accept it.


25 posted on 03/11/2008 1:33:17 PM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Hacklehead

I hope some one is working on it.


26 posted on 03/11/2008 1:34:57 PM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: SwedishConservative
Increasing the nuclear power production is the ONLY viable option.

I agree - but the anti-nuke mob is fairly powerful. How many new nuke power plants have been built here in the last 20 years?

27 posted on 03/11/2008 1:38:06 PM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: neverdem; AdmSmith; Berosus; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Fred Nerks; ...

Thanks neverdem.

All should please realize that the reason for higher food prices is OPEC’s colluded price of petroleum. It has little to nothing to do with any kind of ethanol mandate or ethanol production. At 42 gallons a barrel, $100 a barrel crude means about $2.50 a gallon of crude (and that doesn’t take into account transportation and refining). Everything produced for retail has energy costs in its cost of production, cost of transportation, cost of wholesaling and retailing, and of course, indirectly, in bringing it home from the store.

I’ve heard that by the end of the summer, gasoline will be around $4 a gallon — the person I was riding with this afternoon bought Shell regular at $3.459 — and I’d make a wild guess that the price will be $5 a gallon a year from then.

However, that said, it isn’t likely that any of this alternative sourcing would be happening at all if it weren’t for the rising price.

Anything into Oil (Change trash & sewage to oil for $15@barrel)
DISCOVER Vol. 24 No. 5 | May 2003 | Brad Lemley
Posted on 08/20/2003 9:34:41 AM EDT by ckilmer
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/967192/posts

Finally - a breakthrough for oil?
Telepolis | 12/06/2004 | Craig Morris
Posted on 12/08/2004 12:30:48 PM EST by ckilmer
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1297067/posts


28 posted on 03/11/2008 11:24:26 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/______________________Profile updated Saturday, March 1, 2008)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Uncledave

Ping


29 posted on 03/12/2008 5:43:18 PM PDT by neverdem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson