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 When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

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: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>