A U.S. Provisional Patent Application has been filed for this technology.
Novel method to improve yield and titers of butyrate, butanol and other carbon compounds for biofuel and industrial additives while recycling waste gases using Clostridium beijerinckii cultures.
Biofuels provide a desirable alternative to petroleum-based energy products, using fermentation and agriculture to produce energy and industrial products. By 2022, GreenTech Media predicts that biofuels will replace almost 9% of global jet fuel, 8.4% of gasoline and 7.4% of diesel, accounting for a market ranging from $200 billion to $567 billion. Biofuels created from bacteria, like butanol, are especially valuable as they offer many advantages over other biofuel sources such as, carbon capture and storage, drop-in fuel production and high yields and production rates without affecting the food supply, biodiversity or arable land. However, high toxicity of butanol to host organism and the production of byproducts limit production efficiency, sparking a demand for new biofuel technologies.
Researchers at NC State have developed a novel method to increase yields and titers of butyrate and butanol using mixotrophic cultures of Clostridium beijerinckii. The proposed method utilizes synthesis gases such as CO, CO2 and H2 with a bacterial culture that is capable of naturally producing butyrate and butanol to increase production by up to 20%. In addition, the method recycles harmful greenhouse gases, reduces costs and decreases toxicity to bacterial cultures.
- Improved yields and titers of butanol and butyrate by up to 20%
- Real-time carbon capture and recirculation of gases for reduction of greenhouse gases
- Increased production of carbon compounds without increased toxicity to bacterial cultures
- Production of alternative drop-in ready biofuels
About the Inventors
Dr. Jose Bruno-Barcena is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at NC State. He earned his Ph.D. in Biological Science from Tucuman University in Argentina and has more than 20 years of research experience in microbial physiology. His research interests include fermentation and bioprocessing technology, gram-positive bacteria, functional probiosis and bioenergy.
Dr. Mari Chinn is a Professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at NC State. She earned her Ph.D. in Biosystems Engineering at the University of Kentucky. Her research interests include production of bio-based products, methods of enzymatic conversion and fermentation and solvent extraction processes.
Dr. Walter Sandoval-Espinola was a graduate student in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at NC State and a member of the Bruno-Barcena Laboratory. His research focused on bacterial fermentation, solventogenic bacteria and development of second generation biofuel. Dr. Sandoval-Espinola received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from NC State and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.