Michigan Biotechnology Institute: Biofuels Digest’s 2015 5-Minute Guide

March 22, 2015 |

5-Minute-Guide-logoMBI (Michigan Biotechnology Institute) is both a premier multidisciplinary center sought out by industry partners for unique derisking capabilities and a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit inspired by a mission to enhance quality of life by collaboratively accelerating the commercialization of sustainable biobased technologies.

Founded in 1981, Lansing, Michigan based MBI is closely affiliated with MSU and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the MSU Foundation. The group adds that “Technologies developed at MBI are recognized and trusted worldwide. For example, together with MSU and Cargill, MBI was responsible for developing PLA, the polymer used worldwide to make renewable and biodegradable containers and cutlery. Our capabilities include: biomass pre-treatment; bench- and pilot-scale fermentations, process development; analytical chemistry, purification, and techno-economic modeling.”

Top Past Milestones 

-Commissioned 1000L AFEX reactor, surpassed lab scale performance in >400 reactor runs.
-Conducted successful beef and dairy trials with AFEX pellets replacing corn grain.
-Demonstrated hydrolysis/fermentation with AFEX pellets (20% solids) at 3000L pilot scale.
-Licensed technologies for biobased fumaric and succinic acids.

Top Future Milestones

-MBI expects to submit a Food Additive Petition for FDA approval of its AFEX pellets for beef and dairy cattle feed.
-Complete the philanthropic-centered AFEX fundraising campaign, raising a total of $33 million.
-Raise MBI’s profile as a premier center sought out by industry partners to accelerate commercialization of new biobased technologies.

Business Model

MBI is an unconventional hub: A market-driven and mission-inspired 501(c)(3) not-for-profit sought out by industry partners wishing to accelerate technologies to commercialization. The “multidisciplinary team helps bring sustainable, biobased technologies to the marketplace by offering custom-tailored solutions through our unique derisking process.”

Competitive Edge

“Our team is our advantage,” says MBI. “MBI’s scientists come with specialties from chemical engineering to strain development & fermentation expertise. The approach is to derisk technologies, addressing technical and commercial risks to effectively and efficiently accelerate early-stage technologies to market-readiness.

Upoming Projects

AFEX, which offers a game-changing solution to the global challenge of feeding 9 billion by 2050, has been under R&D at Michigan State University for over 20 years. In 2010, MBI experts made a significant breakthrough in the equipment and process design, which led to the building of a 1-ton-per-day AFEX pilot plant at MBI’s facility in Lansing, Michigan.

The pilot plant has been successful and currently produces AFEX pellets for small-scale feed and biofuel application trials. An initial evaluation in beef cattle was conducted in 2013, followed by an initial dairy cattle trial in 2014, both with promising results.

The next critical step is to build a pioneer commercial-scale (~100-tons-per-day) AFEX depot essential to complete the technology development and long-duration trials needed to validate productivity and quality of milk, meat, and biofuels produced. The depot will be essential to develop a simple, robust design that can be rapidly replicated in communities worldwide.

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