Consolidated Bioprocessing Improves Isobutanol Production

November
2015

Biofuels are not all created equal. Some are made from corn, others from cellulose. And, while most of the biofuels on the market today are ethanol-based, other biofuels are just as, if not more, viable. For example, butanol, a slightly longer-chain cousin, boasts much more attractive fuel properties than ethanol. Butanol has a higher energy content and a lower vapor pressure, is less flammable, and mixes more readily with gasoline.

The problem with some biofuels is that they are more difficult, and more expensive, to produce. That is the case for cellulose-based isobutanol. Unlike starch-based biomass from corn, cellulose can be obtained from nonedible sources, such as leaves and stalks, wood, and grasses. Cellulosic biomass, however, consists of complex structural polysaccharides (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin), which are difficult to break down into fermentable sugars and require the use of large amounts of expensive enzymes...

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