SBIR Phase I: Xylose Isomerase from Marine Bacteria for Cellulosic Ethanol
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
720 NE Granger Ave, Building B, Corvallis, OR, 97330-9660
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will demonstrate the feasibility of using a novel enzyme from a marine bacterium as part of a process to convert biomass to ethanol. The Trillium laboratory has preliminary data that indicates that this enzyme has unique characteristics that enables a low-cost process for converting xylose, a common biomass-derived sugar, into ethanol using robust conventional yeasts. Phase I work will characterize the biochemical performance of the enzyme and use it in a bench-scale xylose-to-ethanol process. Successful execution of the Phase I project will set the stage for a Phase II project that will develop high-volume production of this enzyme and use it in a pilot-scale Simultaneous Isomerization and Fermentation (SIF) system. The broader/commercial impacts of this research are dramatic cost reductions for conversion of cellulosic biomass to ethanol, and thus more rapid deployment of commercial cellulosic ethanol processes. The current United States Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) mandates that 18 billion gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol be blended into the nation?s transportation fuel supply by 2022. Progress toward this goal is not being met due to the lack of economic cellulosic ethanol processes. The innovation of this proposal will result in a process that increases ethanol yield per ton of biomass by 30-40% and thus dramatically improve overall process economics. A cost-effective cellulosic ethanol process will drive the investment of 100 billion dollars of capital capacity to meet the RFS and create jobs in the biofuels industry and agriculture sector.
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