Mascoma bioengineered yeasts have produced more than 1B gallons of ethanol
11 December 2013
Mascoma Corporation, a leading provider of bioconversion technology, announced that its consolidated bioprocessing technology (CBP) has been used to produce more than 1 billion gallons of corn ethanol. The company said that this represented a key commercial milestone for its MGT yeast products including TransFerm and TransFerm Yield+. (Earlier post.)
Using its proprietary CBP technology platform, Mascoma has developed bioengineered yeasts to reduce costs and improve yields in the production of renewable fuels and chemicals. Mascoma’s first commercial application of its technology platform are its Mascoma Grain Technology (MGT) yeast products, which are drop-in substitutes for existing yeasts designed to improve the economics of corn-based ethanol production.
In less than 18 months, we have accomplished remarkable growth of the TransFerm product line, to the extent that almost a quarter of current US ethanol production is utilizing our yeast technology today. This is a big step in our overall goal to establish Mascoma’s consolidated bioprocessing technology platform as the standard in bioconversion of biomass to replacements for petroleum products.—Bill Brady, President and CEO of Mascoma
TransFerm is an advanced bioengineered replacement for conventional fermenting yeast that lowers costs for corn ethanol producers by alleviating the need to purchase a significant amount of the expensive enzymes currently used in corn ethanol production. Presently, TransFerm is used commercially in approximately 20% of operational corn ethanol facilities in the US. In addition, commercial-scale trials are underway at many other corn ethanol producers.
TransFerm Yield+, recently introduced into the market, offers advantages comparable to TransFerm as well as significant additional benefits including reducing the production of glycerol and improving ethanol yield. In commercial-scale trials at a number of corn ethanol producers, this product has demonstrated ethanol yield improvements of up to 4%.
Ethanol production economics are driven by the margin between the value of the products, mainly ethanol and distillers’ grains, and the input costs, mainly corn, energy, and purchased enzymes. The TransFerm line of products not only allows producers to reduce their expense of purchased enzymes, but also to gain significant increases in the amount of ethanol produced. This allows the potential combined savings for a typical ethanol plant to be in the millions of dollars annually.
TransFerm and TransFerm Yield+ are manufactured and distributed by Lallemand Biofuels and Distilled Spirits (LBDS) and jointly marketed and sold by Mascoma and LBDS under an expanded partnership agreement. Recently, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) approved a new feed ingredient definition for TransFerm Yield+, following a favorable review from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Mascoma is pursuing other commercial applications of its CBP technology and is partnering with companies that operate or plan to operate facilities that produce cellulosic ethanol, as well as working with partners to develop and construct commercial scale facilities to convert woody biomass to cellulosic ethanol.
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