Dyadic International, a biotechnology company, has joined Royal Nedalco and other partners in R&D projects funded by the Netherlands government to develop technologies to produce ethanol from sugar beet pulp and wheat bran. Dyadic Nederland BV, Dyadic’s subsidiary in Zeist, the Netherlands, will focus on the development of optimal enzyme preparations for the extraction of sugars from these feedstocks.
Funding for the projects will be provided by grants from the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands, in the Energy Research Program EOS, managed by SenterNovem.
Sugar beet pulp, with its currently low value, high volume at centralized locations and abundant carbohydrate content, is an attractive feedstock for the production of bioethanol. Wheat bran, a byproduct of wheat processing, is another attractive bioethanol feedstock. However, the enzyme preparations to economically extract sugars from these materials and the yeasts required to ferment these unusual sugars for large-scale ethanol production need to be further developed. Our research projects are designed to overcome these technical problems and contribute to the development of economically viable renewable fuels for the future.—Jan Verdoes, Ph.D., Research Director, Dyadic Nederland BV
In addition to Dyadic Nederland BV, the four-year sugar beet pulp collaboration will include Wageningen University for characterization of enzyme-treated substrates, Delft University for yeast fermentation engineering, the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands for process modeling and economics, and Royal Nedalco for commercial testing of the process.
For the two-year wheat bran collaboration, Dyadic joins Wageningen University for characterization of plant cell wall polysaccharides, BIRD Engineering for fermentation technology, and Royal Nedalco for commercial process testing. Royal Nedalco, a leading European producer of bioethanol, is a subsidiary of Cosun, a producer of natural ingredients and foodstuffs for the international food industry with annual revenue of approximately €1.3 billion (US$1.7 billion).
Dyadic developed an integrated technology platform to rapidly discover and express genes of both eukaryotic and prokaryotic origin, then efficiently and inexpensively manufacturing the products of those genes. The company uses a number of proprietary fungal strains to produce enzymes and other biomaterials, principally focused on a system for protein production based on the patented Chrysosporium lucknowense fungus, known as C1.
Dyadic is applying its technologies to produce enzymes for use in converting various agricultural products (e.g. corn) and waste products (e.g. switch grass, wheat straw, sugar cane bagasse, etc.) into fermentable sugars, which can then be used in the production of traditional and cellulosic ethanol as well as other products currently derived from petroleum.
In October 2006, Dyadic signed a three-year research and development (R&D) agreement and a $10-million stock purchase agreement with Abengoa Bioenergy R&D (ABRD). That R&D agreement has as its objective the development of a cost-effective enzyme production system for commercial application in Abengoa Bioenergy’s cellulosic ethanol production process. (Earlier post.)
Royal Nedalco earlier signed a joint development agreement with SunOpta under which SunOpta will license Nedalco’s patented pentose fermenting yeast for the production of cellulosic ethanol in North America. Furthermore, SunOpta will work with Nedalco to include SunOpta’s technology and systems for cellulosic ethanol production into their planned new grain ethanol facilities in Europe.
A consortium including Nedalco, Delft University of Technology and BIRD Engineering—all located in the Netherlands—developed a patented and novel pentose fermenting yeast that is capable of high conversions of pentose sugars as well as the hexose sugars into cellulosic ethanol at high yields. (Earlier post.)