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
- 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 SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
6700 AA Wageningen
00016 Monterotondo Scalo Roma
76530 Grand Couronne