Pilot Scale Data of Breakthrough Fermentation and Extraction Process Passes Key Milestones for Commercial Scaleup

8/22/2013 5:34:36 PM

Note: This information comes from a press release by Optinol, Inc. featuring work done by Dr. Donal Day of the LSU AgCenter's Sustainable Bioproduct's Initiative (SUBI).

San Francisco, CA - Optinol ( www.optinol.com) announced that the company has achieved cost parity feasibility with ethanol for the production of bio-butanol (n-butanol) from a wide variety of sugars. Based on preliminary engineering studies to estimate the capital and operating costs for commercial scale production, the company has concluded that it is feasible to produce bio-butanol at cost parity with ethanol.

"Optinol has taken an alternative approach to producing butanol compared to companies like Gevo, Cobalt and Butamax", said Jack Oswald, Interim CEO of Optinol. "In lieu of genetic modification of the organism or other hosts such as yeast or E.coli, the Optinol process uses a patented non-GMO clostridium strain that naturally and prolifically favors the production of butanol, and without acetone or ethanol."

The Optinol team chose to engineer a production solution tailored to the organism rather than trying to tailor the organism to existing production processes. The net result is a high yield and commercially robust process to produce low cost butanol at a price competitive with ethanol.

"The Optinol process centers on continuous flow through fermentation of our organism in inexpensive immobilized cell columns", said  Dr. Ravi Randhava  of Optinol. "Low cost fermentation combined with low cost continuous extraction and low energy distillation processes provide the basis for a low cost commercially robust production platform".

The process has been tested with a wide variety of feedstocks including sugar cane juice, corn starch, sweet sorghum juice, molasses types including sugar cane and beets and cellulosic sugars. All forms of sugar performed equally well. The bulk of the lab and pilot work has been conducted at Louisana State University. Final feasibility studies are targeting optimization of the extraction medium.

Unlike ethanol, bio-butanol is hydrophobic and has similar energy content to that of gasoline. As such, it can be transported in standard pipelines without corrosion and other water-based issues caused by ethanol.

About Optinol

Optinol is a collaborative venture between SynGest Inc., Unitel Technologies, Inc. and the LSU AgCenter, The development of the Optinol process was led by Dr. Donal Day of the LSU AgCenter in collaboration with Dr. Ravi Randhava of Optinol.


Optinol Inc
Jack Oswald, +1 415.986.8300

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