Green Biologics stirs biobutanol plans
Oxford, UK – Green Biologics Ltd (GBL), an Oxford-based technology provider for bio-butanol production, has completed an investment round of £4.9 million to roll out its technology and commercialisation plans.
The funds raised will allow GBL to accelerate a commercialisation programme in its main markets of China, India, Brazil and the US. The company has developed retrofit packages to convert ethanol plants to bio-butanol and with fermentation and process technology solutions for existing and new-build bio-butanol plants.
The money will also allow GBL to continue to invest in its technology development programme to reduce the production cost of bio-butanol from agricultural by-product and waste feedstocks for the advanced biofuel market.
The investment round was led by Capricorn Venture Partners (CVP), a new investor in GBL through its Capricorn Cleantech Fund, and included participation by all GBL’s existing institutional investors - Morningside Ventures, Carbon Trust Investment Ltd and Oxford Capital Partners - as well as by management and founder investors.
“We anticipate that GBL will be the first company in the world having its advanced proprietary industrial fermentation technology being used at full industrial scale to produce bio-butanol at competitive prices compared to butanol obtained by the petroleum-based oxo proces,” said Claude Stoufs, CVP senior investment manager.
GBL’s fermentation technology package for butanol production is based on the use of a diverse collection of industrial microbes together and expertise in microbial strain improvement and fermentation process technologies.
The microbe collection contains more than 100 industrial clostridial strains for the butanol fermentation plus approximately 800 unique thermophilic strains. The collection also contains modified strains that have been genetically and biochemically characterised.
The company has also developed molecular biology toolkits to manipulate Clostridia and Geobacillus and claims to have pioneered techniques for genetic manipulation of novel microbes from its culture collection to improve product titre and yield.
According to GBL, its production strains for butanol have much larger substrate ranges than yeast and are better suited for sugars derived from cellulosic feedstocks. They also require fewer enzymes and reduced enzyme loadings which have a major impact on the cost of hydrolysis.
As many of GBL’s thermophiles are cellulolytic they can ferment cellulose directly to a range of renewable chemicals.
Thermophiles make suitable hosts for industrial biotechnology, as they are robust and display high rates of metabolic activity, fast growth and high productivities. They also grow on a wide range of substrates and produce a range of reduced fermentation products such as organic acids, alcohols and solvents. GBL has already developed thermophilic strains for ethanol and lactic acid.