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Apollo Program for Biomass Liquids What Will it Take? Michael R. Ladisch Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering Agricultural and Biological Engineering Purdue University


Source: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation Corn


Supply Chain Grow Harvest Water Seed Fertilizer Sun Transport Store to Bioprocessing

Build on Existing Infrastructure for Corn: 

Build on Existing Infrastructure for Corn Trucking the feedstock Trips of 5 to 40 miles, one way, for corn Costs about 12 cents per bushel corn 4.6 cents per gallon ethanol $ 5 / ton (dry basis) corn 10 cents per cu. ft. corn Maier and Ileleji, 2006


Corn Corn Stover (Cellulose) Corn Weighs more than Corn Stover (Cellulose) translates to larger storage volumes for cellulose feedstock for a given ethanol production

Supply Chains: Store, then Transport: 

Supply Chains: Store, then Transport Grow Harvest Water Seed Fertilizer Sun Store Transport to Bioprocessing


Bioprocessing Hydrolysis Fermentation Distillation Pretreatment Glucose xylose Enzymes Fuel Ethanol Delivery to markets Infrastructure Yeast

Projections: US Ethanol Production: 

Projections: US Ethanol Production 2006 4.8 (corn) 2008 7.5 (corn + cellulose) 2015 12.0 (corn + more cellulose) 2030 60.0 (a lot of cellulose + corn) It will happen here


Ethanol Plant Locations


Biomass Resources in Tons / sq km /year From NREL Website, 2005 Sets stage for Cellulose Ethanol


Stalks Leaves Cobs Roots Corn Stover: 1 to 2 tons /acre


Bioethanol Production Ethanol Fermentation Feedstock Preparation Pretreatment Hydrolysis of Solids


Crystalline Region Amorphous Region Cellulose Lignin Pretreatment gives enzyme accessible substrate

Components of plant cell walls: 

Components of plant cell walls Ash Extractives Lignin Cellulose Hemicellulose (need special yeast to convert to ethanol) Ash Extractives Lignin Cellulose Chapple, 2006; Ladisch, 1979 Fermentable sugars obtained from cellulose in 1819

Yeast Metabolism: pentose fermentation: 

Yeast Metabolism: pentose fermentation Glucose Glucose-6-P Fructose-6-P 3-Phosphoglycerate Phosphoenolpyruvate Pyruvate Acetaldehyde Ethanol TCA Cycle Xylose Xylitol Xylulose Xylulose-5-P Glyceraldehyde-3-P NAD(P)H NADH NADH NADH NAD+ NAD+ NAD(P)+ NAD+ PPP Ho et al


From Cellulose: 50 to 55 gal / ton From Xylan: 30 to 35 gal / ton Total: 80 to 85 gal / ton. Corresponds to about 250,000 tons /yr for 20 million gal per year plant Requires engineered yeast, pretreatment cellulase enzymes Yields of Ethanol from Corn Stover (Cellulose Ethanol)


Fermentable sugars are the feedstock Products in addition to ethanol Butanol, Acetone 2,3 Butanediol Acetic, Lactic acid Microbial polysaccahrides (for enhanced oil recovery) Other molecules from biomass sugars Ladisch et al, 1979; 1991


Plant Cell Wall Genomics at Purdue *Supported by the NSF Plant Genome Research and REU Programs Identified over 1100 genes involved in cell wall construction Generated over 900 mutants in Arabidopsis and 200 in maize; maize mutants represent a resource of genetic diversity for feedstock testing Characterized cell walls of these materials using spectroscopic, chemical, and imaging assays Identified novel cell-wall genes that can contribute to feedstock diversity Used genetics and molecular biology to analyze the functions of cell-wall gene products

Trees: 5 to 10 tons /acre: 

Trees: 5 to 10 tons /acre Chapple and Meilan, 2006


Elbersen, Wageningen, 2004 Switchgrass: 5 to 10 tons /acre, less inputs

1 Bale = 970 lbs = 2000 miles: 

1 Bale = 970 lbs = 2000 miles Using Hay Assuming 50 gal x 40 mpg Engel, 2006


Vision Learning and engagement to illustrate science and engineering as agents of change Transfer discovery from laboratory to the field or plant in a contiguous high tech / biotech / agriculture corridor Combine engineering, science and agriculture to catalyze of sustainable growth of a US bioenergy sector Work is not complete until it proven valuable to industry.


Challenges: What will it take? Utilize biomass materials from a wide range of sources: Cellulosics Fiber Corn Apply biotechnology and nanotechnology to develop bio-catalytic conversion routes Yeasts Fixed bed catalysts Enzymes


Opportunities Designer crops for bio-energy production Bioprocess Engineering built around advanced biocatalysts (yeasts, enzymes, fixed bed catalysts) that process designer crops High energy corn that maximizes polysaccharides rather than oil or protein Understand role of forages (switchgrass) and wood poplar grown for energy crops Seeds for the same


Research Plant genomics Microbial genomics Bioprocess Engineering Agriculture Economics Industrial Test Beds


Bioprocess Discovery Activities advanced pretreatments integrated with plant science to enhance the digestibility/reactivity of the fiber component (cellulose and hemicellulose) of DG, enzymatic hydrolysis of pretreated celluloses to produce fermentable sugars, remove part or all of the cellulose and hemicellulose, increase feed value of residual solids, ferment hexose and pentoses using genetically engineered yeasts to ethanol and their transformation to other biobased products, Bio-catalysts to make diesel from soybeans, sugars from biomass convert alcohol and soybean oil to diesel Separations technology energy efficient recovery form water of different bio-products 6. comprehensive economic analysis of the processes, technologies, and markets, incorporating uncertainty in key technological and market parameters.


“Increasing energy consumption, coupled with decreased petroleum supplies, has made development of alternate energy sources a pressing national problem. “Changes in technology and philosophy will be required in order to establish a renewable resource base for the …industry. “Utilizing cellulosics as this basis, we are tapping the earth’s most abundant and readily renewable resource, while providing our industry with relatively inexpensive, and reliable, raw materials. Quote from 1979. Concluding Thoughts

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