Actinogen (ASX: ACW) has appointed an independent expert to compile a report on the commercialisation of the company’s bioethanol research program as it heads towards development.
The company has discovered how to make cellulase(s), which has been confirmed in scale at fermentation trials by the CSIRO.
During the company’s research program to develop cheaper production methods of biofuels, Actinogen discovered actinomycetes that produce cellulase(s) as a by-product when breaking down newspaper, brown paper and glycerol.
Independent tests conducted by the CSIRO confirmed that Actinogen can produce cellulase(s) in volumes of up to at least 10 litres.
Late last year, Actinogen identified a way of increasing the production of cellulase(s) by at least 37% by using a continuous infusion system with laboratory purity glycerol as a nutrient supply.
The company is moving to begin phases three and four of the proposed development strategy outlined by Dr Karne De Boer, a renewable energy engineer and managing director of Regenerate Industries.
Regenerate Industries is a Perth-based company that specialises in the development of biodiesel plants, bioenergy cogeneration plants and integrated systems based around renewable energy.
The company’s most recent project is a $500,000 biodeisel plant in Tasmania converting poppy seed oil into biodiesel.
Phase three of De Boer’s development strategy for Actinogen includes the quantification of sugar production, investigation with waste glycerol, and optimisation of bench top fermentations, which will determine the best conditions for building a test pilot plant.
Phase four includes the design, construction, operation and optimisation of a pilot plant and the development of a cost model for sugar production.
The pilot plant will use the enzymes created by Actinogen on biomass to produce sugars that can be used to ferment bioethanol.
The company will measure the sugars produced and determine whether its process can be used in commercial quantities.
Actinogen is considering two commercial pathways – developing a “black box” that takes substrate, such as waste glycerol or paper, and produces a cellulase rich liquid onsite for other developed bioethanol producers, or constructing its own bioethanol production facility.