Butanol production from agrofood wastes is possible

Biobutanol can be obtained by sugar fermentation. One of the main objectives of Waste2Fuels is the development of suitable pretreatments for lignocellulosic biomass, in order to release simple sugars from cellulose and hemicellulose, thus obtaining fermentable streams for biobutanol production.

Apple pomace, a waste from juice and cider industries, has been successfully employed for biobutanol production. A relatively simple pretreatment method, employing only

Apple pomace

Apple pomace

water and surfactants, has been proposed by ITACyL. Thanks to this technology, and after an enzymatic hydrolysis step, apple pomace broths were fermented and yielded about 9 g/L butanol.

Enzymatic hydrolysis

Enzymatic hydrolysis

These results have been presented at the international scientific conference WCCE 10 held in Barcelona (Spain) in October 2017, and they have been recently published in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology.

Similarly, potato peel from a snack factory was degraded by employing autohydrolysis (water at high temperature) and enzymatic hydrolysis, thus obtaining a fermentable hydrolysate which produced 8 g/L butanol.

Potato peel

Potato peel

These data have been expounded by ITACyL at the international scientific conference ICEMM09, which took place in Bologna (Italy) in September 2017.

Coffee silverskin, a byproduct from roasting industries, was also successfully pretreated by autohydrolysis and enzymatic hydrolysis at ITACyL’s facilities, yielding about 6 g/L butanol after fermentation.

Coffee silverskin

coffee silverskin

These findings will be presented soon at the international scientific symposium ESBES 2018, which will be held in Lisbon (Portugal) in September 2018.

It is remarkable that no detoxification step prior to fermentation was needed for any of the three agrofood waste hydrolysates tested.

Advertisements

Highlight of the month

On January 17th the European Parliament voted on the RED II report and endorsed a set of proposals  that establish new goals for renewable energy, energy efficiency and renewable transportation fuels.

In a vote on revising the Renewable Energy Directive, MEPs agreed a 12% transport target for renewable energy by 2030.
The contribution of so-called “first generation” biofuels, made from food and feed crops, should be capped to 2017 levels, with a maximum of 7% in road and rail transport. The share of advanced biofuels, which have a lower impact on land use than those based on food crops, renewable transport fuels of non-biological origin, waste-based fossil fuels and renewable electricity will have to be at least 1.5% in 2021, rising to 10% in 2030.

To meet the overall targets, EU Member States are asked to set their own national targets, to be monitored and achieved in line with draft law on the governance of the Energy Union.

Among the main elements of the Parliament’s position, it deserves to be mentioned the Definition of advanced biofuels which includes, besides feedstocks in Part A of Annex IX, “other biofuels produced from waste and residual biomass not originating from food/feed crops where such biomass fulfills the sustainability criteria as set out in Article 26”.

Regarding biomass, MEPs want support schemes for renewable energy from biomass to be designed to avoid encouraging the unsustainable use of biomass for energy production if there are better industrial or material uses.

The European Parliament has set ambitious target for efficient energy use, which are those European Union need to fullfil Paris commitments, to fight climate change and to lead the energy transition

The renewable energy target was adopted by a vote of 492 to 88, with 107 abstentions. Now the European Commission, the European Parliament and Member States (Council) will start the so-called “trilogue” negotiations to reach a political agreement.

 

Sustainable First and Second Generation Bioethanol for Europe

Last September, Waste2Fuels had the pleasure to participate in the Sustainable First and Second Generation Bioethanol for Europe event.

In the context of discussion on REDII, the conference provided an overview on pros and cons related to the first and the second generation of bioethanol, focusing on the GHG emission reduction and decarbonisation of transports. Joachim Lutz from Cropenergies, stressed the need for Europe to use both conventional and advanced biofuels in order to reach the climate goals.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Olivier Dubois form FAO debunked the myth of “food vs fuels”stating that sustainable production of biofuels is complex and they should be considered as an opportunity for responsible investment in sustainable agriculture, rural development and bioeconomy.

Strong attention has been devoted to a comprehensive sustainability assessment from Nova Institute. A detailed study, showing that the first generation of biofuels is sustainable as the second generation in terms of GHG reductionhas been presented during the event. The study is based on the analysis of twelve different sustainability criteria, selected on the basis of the most current standards and certification systems of bio-based fuels and materials, including a wide range of environmental, social and economic aspects. IMG-5603The report analyses the strength and weaknesses of all biomass feedstocks for bioethanol production by criteria such as GHG footprint, GHG abatement costs, land use efficiency, food security, protein-rich co-products, employment, rural development, livelihood of famers and foresters, LUC / iLUC, logistic, infrastructure, availability, traceability, social impacts, biodiversity and air and soil quality.

Capturebiomass

Source: Nova Institute

Second generation biofuels seems to perform better than the first generation in terms of the reduction of GHG emissions. Biofuels made from any kind of feedstock provide advantages in terms of GHG emission reductions and should be vectors of a viable transitional strategy towards low-emission mobility, as long as they adhere to sustainability criteria.

 

For more information, please check the related website.

 

Latest updates on WP2

 

waste-to-fuel

 

Activities concerning the WP2 (metabolic engineering for biomass conversion to butanol) have been carried out by WEIZMANN. A library of ligno-cellulolytic enzymes has been developed and a panel of mixtures tested on the four different types of untreated agrowastes. High levels of enzymatic degradation was observed on brewer’s spent grain by a mixture of 3 cellulases, 1 xylanase and 1 bifunctional xylanase-laccase. These five enzymes were attached to scaffoldins to form a designer cellulosomal complex, which was found to be even more efficient than the free enzyme mixture.