White Dog Labs labels new fermentation technology a ‘game-changer’ in helping to boost ethanol production

US-based biotechnology company White Dog Labs has unveiled a new process that eliminates the emission of CO2, a potent greenhouse gas, during fermentation and instead shifts the carbon to added ethanol production, boosting fermentation yields by around 50%.

The by-products are distillers grains, corn oil (if extracted from the grains) and water.

According to the company, the process can boost yields “50-100% for virtually any biochemical” in some cases with a White Dog enhanced production organism — at the high end of yield improvement, via the organism and an addition of hydrogen to the process.

Speaking to Biofuels International, CEO Bryan Tracy said that the process essentially takes sugar feedstock and gases, which could be waste gases from landfill, for example, and turns them into “fancy bacteria”. Waste gases can also be taken from the petrochemical process.

Subsequently, the bacteria is then used in the fermentation process, which helps to produce ethanol or biochemicals.

He added: “Our approach increases ethanol plant output by 50% for a given carbohydrate feedstock (corn or cellulosic) – a potential game-changer for the global bioenergy industry.

“It is accomplished by synergising carbohydrate with gaseous feedstock (bio or fossil) to improve output, reduce CO2 emissions, and improve carbon foot print. Furthermore, the technology allows a degree of hedging against volatility in one type of feedstock or the other.

“While we are seeking a partner to apply the technology to ethanol production, the initial implementation of the technology will be for the production of bio-acetone and isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). We have already designed a state-of-the-art $150m plant to support our production plans, and applied for a US Department of Energy (DOE) loan to help fund the effort.”

Speaking to Biofuels International, Tracy said that this new system integrates the best of both the chemicals industry and the biofuels industry.

The company first pursued Acetone Butanol Ethanol (ABE) technology when it was founded in 2012. ABE was invented in the UK during WWI to provide acetone for gunpowder manufacturing.

White Dog Labs chairman, Sass Somekh, said: "The plummeting oil prices forced us back to the lab to invent a new technology. MixoFerm technology is so efficient that it can withstand economic scenarios such as the 2009 global recession, the 2012 drought and 2015 oil price crash."