Biofuel company Qteros, which is commercializing consolidated bio-processing technology, has shown that its Q Microbe process yields ethanol outputs of 70 grams per liter (9% by volume) in a single-step process on an industrially pre-treated biomass feedstock. A yield of 50 grams per liter is considered to be the threshold for commercial production of cellulosic ethanol.
Qteros said that these results, coupled with the previously observed bioconversion yields of greater than 90%, make the Qteros method of producing cellulosic ethanol more economical than any other process to date.
Dr. Sue Leschine, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst microbiologist who first discovered the Q Microbe near the Quabbin Reservoir in central Massachusetts (earlier post), announced the results at the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing in Montreal, sponsored by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).
In the last year alone, the Qteros scale-up team led by Dr. Sarad Parekh has increased ethanol titers by a factor of five. We are now closer than ever to bringing clean, renewable cellulosic fuel to market at a price competitive with gasoline.—Qteros president and CEO Dr. William Frey
Qteros achieved these ethanol outputs with a non-genetically engineered strain of the Q Microbe. The company expects to capture further improvements by taking advantage of on-going efforts in molecular genetics and strain development.
In May, Qteros announced that Valero Energy Corp. had become a significant investor through Valero’s acquisition of certain assets of Verasun Energy. (Earlier post.)