Trillium receives cellulosic ethanol grant

In the US state of Oregon, cellulosic ethanol specialist Trillium FiberFuels has received a grant of $750,000 (€531,000) from the US Department of Energy (DoE) to commercialise its cellulosic ethanol technology.

The trillium process works by using an existing industrial enzyme to convert xylose, which is not digestible by yeast, to another sugar called xylulose, which is. According to Trillium, this improves the ethanol yield from biomass by up to 40%.

The grant, part of the DoE’s Small Business Innovation Research programme, is a phase II award, designed to allow the company to scale up its research from the laboratory bench to the pilot plant.

The process is expected to take two years. The main feedstocks of interest to Trillium are the agricultural residues wheat and rye straw as these are plentiful in Oregon. But the company believes the xylose conversion process will be applicable to other feedstocks elsewhere.

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