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 Despite government claims, orangutan populations have not increased. Call for better monitoring
06.11.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Increasing frequency of ocean storms could alter kelp forest ecosystems
30.10.2018 | University of Virginia

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: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Massive impact crater from a kilometer-wide iron meteorite discovered in Greenland

15.11.2018 | Earth Sciences

When electric fields make spins swirl

15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Discovery of a cool super-Earth

15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>