Leaf Energy is an Australian technology company which is primarily focused on creating a leading plant biotechnology business to produce biofuels, high value commercial proteins and other plant derived compounds. There PCT application is due to be published on 6th December, 2012. This application is regarding pre treatment of biomass for bio-ethanol production.
This patent application which is a Glycerol Bio-refinery process is a result of a joint venture of intellectual property developed under collaboration and License Agreement between Leaf Energy, Syngenta, Queensland University of Technology and QUT Bluebox.
Leaf Energy have rights to these patents in Australasia and is trying its best to get intellectual property rights in India, Thailand, Philippines, Nicargua, Guatemala, Mauritius, Malaysia and Indonesia.
This patent application has been given a title of “Method for converting lignocellulosic material to useful products” (Glycerol bio-refinery process). In this application a process developed by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) by Zhanging Zhang, Ian O’Hara and William Doherty. The process includes production of biofuels from waste agricultural biomass. This requires an integrated process:
· The breakdown of the fibre (pretreatment).
· Conversion of the pretreated fibre into sugars.
· The subsequent production of ethanol and co-products.
Problems of old pretreatment processes: Many pretreatment processes are available which effectively breaks down fibre but most of them requires high temperatures that results in high energy use and the production of sugar degradation compounds (production of degradation compounds inhibit the subsequent fermentation). In many pretreatment processes, chemical which are used are expensive.
The Glycerol Bio-refinery Process overcomes these problems because:
· This works at lower temperature.
· Due to lower temperature, energy used is reduced and losses of sugars to degradation production are also reduced.
· Glycerol is known worldwide to be used in pretreatment.
Data provided by the applicant in the patent specification says that Glycerol bio-refinery process after 24 hours liberates over 90% digestible cellulose. These results were demonstrated repeatedly at pilot scale, at the Mackay Renewable Bio-commodities pilot plant which is operated by Queensland University of Technology.
What will be the use of this fuel?
· According to a survey, people spend about 35% of their income on transportation costs.
· Sugarcane bagasse provides enough ethanol that can be used as an alternative to automotive gasoline.
· The use of water cellulosic feed stocks such as bagasse will mean that there will be no competition with food requirements or land used for food production (Importance of sugarcane bagasse).
· Another benefit of using ethanol produced from waste cellulosic biomass has major carbon benefits, with reductions of 70% to 86% standard fuel’s carbon content.