1 Oktober 2013

Proterro Meets Key Milestones: Tests Confirm Photobioreactor Robustness; Commissioning of Pilot Plant in Process

The biofeedstock company also validates low fabrication cost and completes preliminary design, layout, and cost estimate for demonstration-scale plant

Proterro, Inc., the only biofeedstock company that actually makes sucrose instead of extracting it from crops or deconstructing cellulosic materials, has met key new development milestones.

“We scaled up our novel photobioreactor design and conducted independent functionality tests that confirmed the unit’s robustness,” said Proterro CEO Kef Kasdin. “The modular photobioreactors, which are made from off-the-shelf materials, including polyethylene, can withstand category 1 hurricane winds,” she explained, adding, “Because of the materials used and the innovative design, we also have been able to validate low fabrication costs.”

Kasdin also said that Proterro is in the process of commissioning a pilot plant in Florida and— with the help of top-ranking U.S. engineering, architectural and management services company Middough Inc.—has completed a preliminary design, layout and associated cost estimate for a demonstration-scale plant.

Using CO2, sunlight and water, Proterro lowers the cost of sugar production through a novel, scalable biosynthetic process that integrates its patented, highly productive microorganism with its unique, patent-pending photobioreactor. This process yields a fermentation-ready sucrose stream, rather than a mixture of sugars, allowing simple, low-cost downstream processing.

Key features of Proterro’s patent-pending photobioreactor are:

  • Collapsible low-cost polyethylene cylinder
  • Made from off-the-shelf materials
  • Naturally sheds rain and snow
  • Favorable aerodynamic shape for wind loading
  • Patented cyanobacteria grow on vertical fabric panels
  •  Water and nutrients drain by gravity on panels
  • CO2-augmented air, or flue gas inflates cylinder
  •  Natural low point for condensate drain
  • Can be UV stabilized

“Unlike typical algae cultivation approaches,” said Kasdin, “we grow our high-sugar- producing cyanobacteria on a composite fabric substrate enclosed in our photobioreactor, which optimizes the organisms’access to light and surrounds them with their carbon-dioxide feedstock. Water and nutrients are trickled into the photobioreactor, creating a controlled cultivation environment.”

Proterro’s unique sugar-making process removes the price volatility that comes with crop-based feedstocks and eliminates the complex and costly steps required to produce cellulosic sugars derived from biomass. The result is an economically stable, fermentation-ready sugar feedstock for the scalable, affordable production of a variety of commercial scale fuels and chemicals through standard industrial fermentation methods.

Other Proterro News

In a separate announcement today Proterro said Dr. Timothy Cooper has joined the executive team. (See Biofeedstock Company Proterro Names Bioprocessing Expert Engineering VP)

About Proterro, Inc.

Proterro is the only biofeedstock company that makes sucrose instead of extracting it from crops or deconstructing cellulosic materials. Using CO2, sunlight and water, Proterro lowers the cost of sugar production to around $0.05/lb., unleashing the economic value of biofuels and biobased chemicals for industry partners. The company has developed a novel, scalable biosynthetic process that integrates a patented, highly productive microorganism with a robust, modular photobioreactor made from off-the-shelf materials. This process yields a fermentation-ready sucrose stream, rather than a mixture of sugars, allowing simple, low-cost downstream processing. For example, Proterro provides a complementary and cost-effective drop-in feedstock to the ethanol fermentation process. In February 2012 the USPTO issued to Proterro U.S. Patent No. 8,367,379, protecting Proterro’s sucrose-producing microorganism. The company’s photobioreactor is patent pending, as are other patents related to the unique microorganism. Backed by Battelle Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, Cultivian Ventures and Middleland Capital, Proterro has been recognized by Lux Research as a top innovative company that stands out for its “disruptive potential.”

Source: Proterro, Inc.

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