The Competitive Edge: AmericaBio

February 27, 2020 |

Q: What was the reason for founding your organization – what was the open niche you saw that could be addressed with a new product or service? What was the problem, or gap, or opportunity?

Our company develops technologies for the deconstruction of forest and also agricultural biomass for sugars that are used for production of renewable fuels, typically ethanol, and higher value products such as Omega-3, SCP, xylo oligosaccharides (XOS), acetic acid, animal feed proteins.

We have a research base in Brazil working on enzymes and microorganism but our main operation is Portugal. We operate a pilot plant with the National Laboratory of Energy (LNEG), which is the body of the Portuguese State responsible for the implementation of the National Biorefinery Plan.

We can perform each unit operation on a scale of 1: 10-1: 20 in relation to the commercial scale. We have 200 liter steam explosion reactors (STEX), 100 liter capacity hydrothermal reactors, 600 liter capacity liquefaction / hydrolysis / fermentation reactors. We also have all the analysis equipment needed for each project including HPLCs, biomass characterization, primary and secondary currents, inhibitors and so on.

Q: Tell us about your organization. What do you do?

We have pilot scale technology for anhydrous ethanol, acetic acid, animal feed protein, increased digestibility animal feed, rice bran ethanol, DDGS, rice bran protein, omega-3 from sugars. We are currently under contract completing the basic engineering for an ethanol biorefinery from forest residues with a capacity of 20 million liters of ethanol per year in Portugal.

Q: What stage of development are you?

Commercial stage – have mature products or services on the market.

Q: What do your technologies, products or services do and accomplish – how does it (they) work, who is it (they) aimed for?

Our technology is based on STEX (steam explosion) technology using commercial enzymes and non-GMO microorganisms. The process is flexible allowing the use of more than one biomass simultaneously with the concept of production line so that the process parameters can be optimized for each one.

Our CAPEX, just considering equipment and assembly, is about 40% smaller than competitors and the technology has been optimized for capacities between 250 – 750 MT (40% moisture) per day using forest biomass and generating ethanol, and by-products that can be traded as commodities. The generation of more valuable products allows even smaller scales.

Q: Competitively, what gives your technology, product or service set an edge in cost or performance, sustainability, or any other aspect, that makes it stand out from the crowd, In short, what makes it transformative?

Our technology has the ability to process wood, including bark, as well as straw and other biomass such as olive pomace. Our Biorefineries are competitive on small scales, 8-30 million liters of ethanol per year, with relatively low CAPEX and good performance allowing the use of the module concept, where the production unit can be close to the origin of biomass, reducing logistics costs.

Q: What are the 3 top milestones you have accomplished in the past 3 years?

  1. We have completed the technology development in Brazil.
  2. Installed a pilot plant in Lisbon with 1: 10-1:20 scale of each individual equipment compared to commercial equipment.
  3. Signed a first contract to build a biorefinery with capacity to produce 20 million liters of ethanol in Portugal and we are currently working on basic engineering for this contract.

Q: What are the 3 top milestones you will accomplish in the next 3 years?

  1. We will optimize the technology to use olive pomace and olive pruning for a customer from Spain.
  2. Develop SCP protein generation from corn stove for a customer in Portugal
  3. Make a project for the generation of ethanol from MSW in 2020 for another customer from Portugal.

Besides there is a project that uses technology from LNEG to produce XOS (xylo oligo saccharides) and we will add our technology to produce ethanol from the biomass stream that cannot be used for the XOS.

Q. Where can I learn more about AmericaBio?

Click here to visit AmericaBio’s website.

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