LS9, a developer of renewable chemicals and fuels, has expanded operations at its Okeechobee, Florida demonstration facility with a successful customer trial. The Florida facility was initially designed, and has been used, to scale-up LS9’s fermentation technology and generate large commercial samples for testing and product qualification by key partners and prospective customers.
LS9 has developed an industrial biotechnology platform for the cost-competitive production of sustainable products for the fuel and chemical industries. The heart of LS9 technology lies in its biological catalysts, which have been engineered selectively to convert renewable feedstocks directly to drop-in and differentiated products through simple scalable processes. To create these catalysts, LS9 applies synthetic biology to combine the highly efficient metabolism of microorganisms with new biocatalytic capabilities engineered into each cell.
The resulting catalysts selectively and efficiently convert a diversity of feedstocks to a final product in a single-step fermentation process. The product is secreted from the cell where it conveniently forms a non-toxic, light organic phase that is easily recoverable.
Since the company’s initial run at 135,000 liter scale in the third quarter of last year, LS9 has made several additional fatty alcohol runs of this size as well as smaller production runs of fatty acid methyl esters (biodiesel).
In addition, LS9 has successfully completed a pilot production run at its Florida plant for another advanced bioproducts company, Cobalt Technologies.
Fermentation scale-up is an expensive proposition and requires the proper facilities and expertise to make an effective run. The need to run trials is also intermittent so it is not cost-effective for many companies in the industry to make the investment in a larger plant.
LS9’s Florida demonstration plant was designed to manage a multitude of processes, and with this successful customer run, LS9 has proven it can leverage its facility and the expertise of its operations staff to work with partners to commercialize renewable products. Given the success of the initial production run, Cobalt is considering future work at LS9’s Florida facility, according to LS9.