Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biologists offer distilleries a leaner, cleaner solution

05.03.2003


Biologists in Manchester have helped create a breakthrough in alcohol production that could save industry millions of pounds and help clean up the environment.


Many distilleries across Europe still rely on 19th century technology pioneered by Louis Pasteur, so the invention of a vastly more efficient fermenting system offers exciting possibilities.

The technology, developed at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), also allows continuous production of the chemical, an improvement from the current process whereby ethanol (or ethyl alcohol) is produced in batches.

MMU, TTZ in Germany, INETI and the University of Coimbra in Portugal will develop the system, which will be commercialised and used by a consortium of six companies from the UK, Spain, Portugal and Germany. The £640,000 project is backed by a £320,000 grant from the European Union.



Dr Mike Dempsey, whose research on adhesive organisms and fluidised bed fermentation is central to the technique, said: "The new process involves the way organisms are used in the fermenter. By using fluidised beds we can increase cell concentration tenfold with a similar increase in the rate of production. Coupled with continuous fermentation, this should raise ethyl alcohol productivity at least 20 fold.

The development has implications for both commercial and environmental costs. This is because the process will use agricultural and food industry waste as a source of sugar, and the product ethanol can be used as a motor fuel or fuel-extender. Not only will any pollution (ie in rivers as effluent) by the original wastes be eliminated but also that caused by toxic fuel-extenders, such as MBTE.

The use of ethanol as a fuel will not make a net contribution to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2, a greenhouse gas), because the crops from which the wastes come took it in during photosynthesis. This is what Dr Dempsey calls the "fuel ethanol diamond"; where CO2 take up by plants from air is converted to sugars, which are fermented to ethanol and end up back in the air when it is burnt.

MMU will receive £60,000, including a new post-doctoral researcher, to carry out research in the selection of microbes and in screening for adhesive, ethanol-producing strains suitable for the fluidised bed process.

Gareth Hollyman | alfa
Further information:
http://www.mmu.ac.uk/news/news_release.php?number=82

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>