Syngas fermentation: "Third path for cellulosic ethanol" detailed in new white paper

June 10, 2011 |

Advanced Biofuels USA today released a white paper detailing the mechanics of a third approach for producing cellulosic ethanol, called syngas fermentation, a hybrid of the two traditional major pathways, biochemical and thermochemical.  The paper, “Syngas Fermentation, The Third Pathway for Cellulosic Ethanol,” discusses the benefits the process holds and seeks to garner awareness about the pathway amongst biofuels stakeholders.

In recent years, technological advancements have given rise to the combination approach, which captures the benefits of biochemical and thermochemical elements while at the same time mitigating some of their risks. According the Advanced Biofuels USA, the approach has been overlooked by the U.S. Department of Energy, “which has defined the two primary pathways as the biochemical and thermochemical approaches,” the group stated.

Syngas fermentation utilizes syngas created from gasifying biomass feedstock and ferments it into the desired biofuel or chemical.  The fuel or chemical is then separated from water through standard distillation and dehydration to recover the final product.  Companies such as Coskata, INEOS Bio, and LanzaTech are utilizing the “third path” in their technology platforms.

The full paper is available online here.

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