Cobalt Technologies has successfully completed a production campaign of bio n-butanol at a fermentation scale greater than 100,000 liters (26,400 gallons US). The performance demonstrates scalability by replicating the performance previously obtained at both the 10-liter bench scale and the 4,000-liter pilot scale.
This scale validation is a crucial stepping stone to finalizing any commercial project, since scale up to a commercial fermentor is under 10x, well within industry norms, the company said.
With the results achieved during the latest production run, Cobalt said it demonstrated a clear economic advantage over petroleum-based butanol under current market conditions. Ongoing process improvements at commercial scale are expected to yield at least a 40% cost advantage.
The production run was carried out at a US-based contract manufacturing (CMO) facility with minimal modification to their existing aerobic system, highlighting the flexibility of Cobalt’s anaerobic technology and showing the robustness of Cobalt’s biocatalyst. The demonstration also provides important validation of Cobalt’s ability to take advantage of opportunities to retrofit or co-locate with existing ethanol plants, whether based on sugarcane or corn, for the production of butanol. The demo supports attractive economics for these deployment models with further value enhancement by replacing food-based sugars with surrounding biomass.