Skip to comments.Trash today, ethanol tomorrow: Invention promises major advance in biofuel production (No Corn!)
Posted on 03/11/2008 12:13:11 PM PDT by Red Badger
S. Degradans is the source of the Ethazyme mixtures.
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 brewers 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 OMalley 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 OMalley. 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.
Source: University of Maryland
Ethanol ruins your engine, gets less MPG, and costs more to use in the long run. Why anyone would want to use this junk is beyond me.
Could use all the plant material mowed and cut from interstate and other highways.. trillions of pounds not now even gathered.... More highways could be planted with “grass”.. or whats that plant in Geogia that grows a foot a day.. that you cant get rid of..
If it pans out, this sounds promising. The whole ethanol from corn thing just seemed like a lot of tail-chasing.
But it turned out to be bogus. The predictions that were in the article never came true.
So now I am very skeptical of these kinds of claims. If this new article is true, then why isn't the product available on the open market for people to buy? My guess is that it's probably as bogus as the article from 5 years ago.
E100, ie 100% ethanol, can be used to fuel engines.....
Well, that’s all fine and good until we deplete the earth of trash. We’ll have all kinds of Greenies complaining about the lack of McDonald wrappers and beer bottles on the side of the road.
Finally! A solution to the KUDZU problem!........
You mean "wallet filling" :)
My point is that it’s all talk. They aren’t actually making and selling it on a large scale.
What's the lesser evil, imperfect domestic ethanol or foreign oil that we cannot afford?
As a side note to promising energy alternatives, consider this high density fuel cell.
Ethanol doesn’t burn our food RB, unless you want to call soda pop food.
This appears to actually be quite promising...plus it starts with the letter “E” - very important.
Think of all the leaves raked up each fall...or the land cleared down here in FL for housing. Mountains and mountains of feedstock for these little critters...
Corn sweetener may not qualify as a “real” food, but corn is used for much more than that. Chicken feeds, cattle feeds, and pork are all in the mix. Anything that is related to corn thru them is also, cooking oils, milk, cheese, butter, eggs, bread and on down the line. The grocery prices are higher than I’ve ever seen them, and it’s not all due to higher oil prices.
My yard clippings alone could fuel my car........Then I might not mind mowing the lawn so often!............
Please Freep Mail me if you'd like on/off
TDP is working, my understanding is that they need a very discreet waste stream to make it work well. The turkey waste is still being rendered into oil, gas, water and carbon. The facilites are essentially refineries, they technology is still in its infancy and there is some smell involved.
and you’d have enough to fuel your mower too! :P
Also, on higher food prices:
Wheat is at a very high price currently due to acres being sown in corn for ethanol rather than in their usual wheat for well...wheaty uses...bread, doughnuts, cookies, Wheaties, etc ad nauseum
New high today for liquid gold....DRILL, DAMIT, DRILL....NOW!
Oh, we have to wait for alternative fuels...while the cost of everything goes through the roof.
How does ethanol ruin your engine??? I’ve known farmers who’ve used it in their vehicles and never had any problems with it. It burns cleaner than gasoline.
is still in its infancy and there is some smell involved.\
last i heard they resolved the smell issue.
It still is in the form of DDG’s. Net-net, being 50% of corn is used as feed anyway we’re not losing that vector.
I do think we should separate that oil and protein prior to fermenting though, by low heat methods if possible to preserve the nutrient value.
Where ethanol does hurt is the corn sweetener and starch market, which is used in food products to enhance their desired qualities and of course soda pop and other drinks. That I can’t argue with.
I can’t deny ethanol’s impact on that or the crowding out effect of other land uses raising food prices, but that will happen if supply or demand spikes prices in any of the main commodities - corn, wheat, soybeans - whether it’s due to ethanol or not.
Although if we can use other crops, that does open up land non suitable for corn and lessens irrigation and fertilization on substandard corn base, which very well needs to be done.
Not that I’m a big fan of ethanol. I think we need to move to batteries and ester fuels and higher alchols (biodiesel, butanol etc.) for transportation, not only because of their qualities but because they get better mileage. Ethanol has it’s use as oxygenatein that picture, and in the right proportions will raise gas mileage, but it is not a solution to oil whatsoever.
No argument on the subsidy issue. The ethanol subsidy is working against us moving to something better IMO. We need to make radical changes in the way we do ethanol and the whole alt. fuel industry.
Other parts of the world have had crappy wheat yields in their harvests which isn’t helping.
re: or whats that plant in Geogia that grows a foot a day.. that you cant get rid of..))0<p.
Kudzu!! LOL...and it grows more places than Georgia. Kudzu is an interesting stuff—is edible, could also be animal feed if we knew how to go about it.
LOL! You beat me to it. That was my first thought. We gotta find some use for that stuff.
With turkey. Tires and plastic and sewerage have other smell issues. I think this is going to be slowly emerging as a good way to get rid of disreet waste streams, with fuel and carbon as a useable refined products. It’s a great way to render trash/waste useable.
What they started a COMPANY?!??!!? What kind of 'environmentlaists' do these people think they are? This is about the elimination of human beings from the equation, not making money! They better get in lock step with the rest of the Nazis...
Kudzu. Hmmm, a use for Kudzu finally, now we may be on to something...
Dryland wheat country can't really grow corn in any large quantity.
Actually, I understand that goats are very effective against kudzu.
It causes seals and gaskets to deteriorate faster than with gasoline.
I have often looked at the mountain our landfill has made, and thought of the billions of dollars that lay waiting there for someone to mine. A process like this, that would be able to float all the bio-waste out in a usable form is a really good first step.
There are literally billions of tons buried landfill waste, mostly plastics from the last 70 years of overpackaged, cheap, disposable trinkets and gadgets we’ve produced. All that plastic can be turned into diesel fuel using the thermal depolymerization process......
I'm not sure it was bogus, I think they just hadn't figured out how to do it on a large scale.
Ha! I love that picture! When I was visiting friends in Tokyo in 2005, we saw kudzu growing up the walls of highway embankments, and on everything out in the country. Looked like back home, in MS, where if something didn’t move for a couple of hours, kudzu started growing on it.
Convince the govt. agency in charge of ethanol $$$ allocation that whatever product or food source you are working on can be converted into Ethanol then thats a fast track to the Govt. $$$ earmarked for ethanol production.........
I predict in 10 years, oil to gasoline will be replaced by something else, maybe blogs-—>gas or grass-—>gas, but whatever it is, it will end our dependency on foreign oil.
Ethazyme/U of MD/ethanol ping.
KUDZU, yes, the roots are the source of a very good starch like arrowroot which is used in Japan. It makes nice jell type desserts. At Whole Foods Market, it was selling for almost $1 per oz. So the roots could certainly be used for ethanol production perhaps in the way that corn is used. And all that green stuff, great for cellulosic ethanol. Incidentally, the fibers in Kudzu vines can be used for cloth manufacture. In fact if I had a lot of land overrun by Kudzu I would check out the potential economic value. The refining processes for food and fiber are not that complex.