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PRODUCTION OF FATTY ACID ESTERS USABLE AS FUELS BY FERMENTATION OF BIOMASS

Objective

The objective of the bioconversion project are to develop, at a similar scale to
currently produced Rapeseed Methyl Ester (RME) project, the production of fatty
acid esters by fermentation of biomass.

It will :

- use glucose substrates or entire crops harvested like straw (triticale) or like
silage (maize) or agricultural and agro-industrial wastes;
- use a new hydrolysis process (Convertech process invented in New Zealand)
or simpler pre-treatments to extract the sugars from biomass;
- produce fatty acids by fermentation of sugars (first phase of methanogenesis
producing Volatile Fatty Acids) using specific cultures of bacterias and
yeasts which specificity in the production of long chain fatty acids or
triglycerides;
- esterify the fatty acids by methanol or ethanol.

Three types of products will be made :

- short chain fatty acid esters (octane enhancers);
- long chain fatty acid esters (cetane enhancers);
- medium chain fatty acids having a market in detergent industry.

The work is only fermentation and esterification and comprises 5 parts :

1. Optimisation of the fermentations that lead to fatty acids :
- trials at laboratory and in small industrial fermenters;
- methods for extraction/esterification of fatty acids;
2. Genetic modification of one type of oleaginous yeast in order to obtain pure
lauric acid or oleic acid;
3. Building of an integrated pilot unit;
4. Laboratory and bench tests of the esters;
5. Synthesis and economic evaluation of the processes.

The project will be market oriented, the fuel tests allowing to optimise the
fermentation to obtain the best final products (reformulated fuels). 10 partners
from 6 countries are associated : 2 petrol companies, 3 universities, 2 public
research organisations and 2 small companies.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

BERTIN ET CIE
Address
Zone Industrielle
40220 Tarnos
France

Participants (8)

ATO - DLO - AGROTECHNOLOGICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Netherlands
Address
Bornsesteeg, 59 - P.o. Box 17
6700 AA Wageningen
C.I.R.A.D.
France
Address
Rue Jean-francois Breton, 73
34090 Montpellier
CRITT - BIO-INDUSTRIES DE MIDI-PYRENEES
France
Address
Complexe Scientifique De Rangueil
31077 Toulouse
Eniricerche SpA
Italy
Address
Via Ramarini 32
00016 Monterotondo Scalo Roma
FUNDACIO BOSCH I GIMPERA DE LA UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA
Spain
Address
Marti I Franques, 1 - Pta. 6
08028 Barcelona
I.N.S.A.
France
Address
Complexe Scientifique De Rangueil
31077 Toulouse
SHELL RESEARCH S.A.
France
Address
Route De Caen
76530 Grand Couronne
Università Cà Foscari di Venezia
Italy
Address
Calle Larga Santa Marta 2137
30123 Venezia