USA flag logo/image

An Official Website of the United States Government

Plant Expression of Cellulase for Biomass Ethanol Production

Award Information

Department of Agriculture
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2007 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
210 N 21st Street, Suite B Purcellville, VA 20132-3026
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2007
Title: Plant Expression of Cellulase for Biomass Ethanol Production
Agency: USDA
Contract: 2007-33610-18017
Award Amount: $80,000.00


"Edenspace Systems Corporation seeks to achieve a substantial decrease in the production costs of cellulosic ethanol biofuel by engineering a promising biofuel crop, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), with up to three different genes that produce cellulases. When activated by heat, these enzymes break down biomass cellulose into simple sugars that can serve as biofuel feedstocks. Microbially-produced cellulases currently used to produce ethanol from corn and other biomass cost more than $0.45 per gallon of ethanol produced. With successful completion of this project to produce the cellulases in switchgrass biomass, this cost can be drastically reduced to the current goal of $0.10 per gallon or perhaps eliminated, with further cost savings from simplified ethanol production operations. Switchgrass, a versatile, perennial, high-biomass grass, provides significant environmental benefits with respect to maintaining soil quality and sequestering carbon while providing feedstocks for biomass based fuels. In Phase I, an existing accession of switchgrass transformed with the Acidothermus cellulolyticus E1 endoglucanase gene will be tested for biomass production and composition, cellulase activity, and enzymatic stability with respect to ethanol production from plant biomass. Switchgrass will be engineered with additional cellulase genes for testing in Phase II. Successful completion of this project will provide substantial cost benefits for the production of ethanol and other biomass feedstocks. In addition, growing enhanced switchgrass for biofuels could provide new income potential for farmers, particularly those participating in the Conservation Reserve Program."

Principal Investigator:

Michael J. Blaylock

Business Contact:

Bruce Ferguson
Small Business Information at Submission:

Edenspace Systems Corporation
3810 Concorde Parkway, Suite 100 Chantilly, VA 20151

EIN/Tax ID: 541916832
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No