Deinove announces progress with single-step cellulosic processing

By Erin Voegele | September 14, 2012

Paris-based Deinove recently announced that its research and development team, in cooperation with partners in its Deinol program, successfully isolated and optimized a strain of Deinococcus bacteria to produce ethanol from wheat-based feedstock. According to the company it achieved an alcohol content of more than 3 percent, thereby exceeding its goal for proof of concept.

The cellulosic process is unique in that it achieves biomass processing and fuel production in a single step. Information published by the company noted that Deinococcus bacteria is able to degrade biomass residues into simple sugars and convert those sugars into ethanol—without the use of additives—in a single step.

Since the company has achieved its proof of concept milestone, the French Ministry of Industry is scheduled to provide EUR1.15 million in funding to Deinove under its Industrial Strategic Innovation program.

“Our results confirm the value of the Deinove technology for transforming biomass into biofuels and industrial products. Deinove’s teams and our partners are proud of this breakthrough. Deinococcus can degrade more than 80 percent of the plant biomass but can also potentially produce industrial quantities of bioethanol ,” said Deinove’s CEO Jacques Biton. “We are now entering the pre-industrial phase of the DEINOL project.”

According to background information on the technology published by Deinove, the Dinococcus bacetria are stable in the fermentor, retaining their properties due to the fact that their genome remains stable. Deinove attributes this to the bacteria’s intrinsic properties and its unique technological approach. The company also noted that the bacteria are able to tolerate the physical and chemical stress they may encounter during industrial processes.

One benefit of the bacteria pointed out by Deinove is its ability to convert biomass into ethanol at temperatures between 40 and 60 degrees Celsius (104 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Deinove also stresses that its technology could be implemented in existing ethanol plants without major new investments.

According to Deinove, reaching its proof of concept milestone means that its research and development work will now enter the “pilot laboratory” stage, where ethanol will be produced at the scale of a few hundred liters. Once the that phase is successfully completed, the company will be awarded additional funding from the French Ministry of Industry, and one of the projects partners will step in to validate the process on a larger scale.