DONG Energy and DSM prove cellulosic bio-ethanol fermentation on industrial scale with 40% higher yield

DONG Energy and Royal Dutch DSM have demonstrated a combined fermentation of C6 and C5 sugars. This resulted in a 40% increase in ethanol yield per ton of straw, which can result in significant cost cuts in the production of second generation bio-ethanol.

DONG Energy and the Dutch Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, Royal DSM, have under the EU 7th Framework Programme concluded a test of fermentation. In the two month fermentation test mixed C6 and C5 fermentation using DSM’s advanced yeast was found to yield 40% more ethanol per ton of straw than traditional C6 fermentation.

The demonstration took place in DONG Energy's Inbicon demonstration plant in Kalundborg (Denmark), the longest running demonstration facility for cellulosic bio-ethanol production in the world. The facility was reconstructed in 2013 in order to be able to conduct mixed fermentation of C6 and C5 sugars. The Inbicon demonstration plant has implemented a newly developed process for production of high sugar concentration mash.

In this demonstration, DSM has successfully established the supply chain for advanced dry yeast and shown to be able to produce and transport its yeast for use on industrial scale. 

Jan Larsen, Head of R&D Bio Solutions, DONG Energy, said:

"In this test the mixed fermentation of C6 and C5 sugars has been proven with similar yield on 270.000 litre industrial scale as was obtained at 1 litre laboratory scale. This is an impressive scale-up and it improves possibilities of deployment of the Inbicon technology."

Christian Koolloos, Business Manager Bio-ethanol at DSM, said:

“With the supply of yeast product to Inbicon, DSM has demonstrated that it has established the required supply chain framework. DONG Energy and DSM have collaborated to make cellulosic bio-ethanol production through fermentation of C5 sugars a reality. The successful supply and application of DSM’s cellulosic yeast product is a milestone in the commercial roll-out of DSM’s cellulosic fermentation technology.”

The joint work by DONG Energy and DSM, in which excellent collaboration has produced an important result, is co-funded by the KACELLE project. In November 2009, DONG Energy and DSM together with four other partners (Statoil, University of Minho, University of Copenhagen, DBFZ) signed the Kalundborg Cellulosic Ethanol Project (KACELLE), devoted to demonstrating and further optimizing the Kalundborg cellulosic bio-ethanol plant, under the EU 7th Framework Programme.

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