CelloFuel Portable Biomass Refinery

CelloFuel modules cost-effectively produce ethanol from sweet sorghum and sugarcane while at the same time ensiling sweet sorghum and sugarcane so it can be fed to livestock (cattle, sheep and goats) year-round. CelloFuel modules use patented infusion technology to produce ethanol by infusing the CelloFuel reagent into sweet sorghum and sugarcane stalks and then fermenting the stalks in an anaerobic environment. The ethanol is then extracted directly from the stalks with a low-cost distillation column. The bagasse is fed to livestock after most ethanol is removed. The bagasse has sufficient ethanol remaining after distillation to improve the appetite and weight gain of livestock (similar to feeding beer to Kobe/Wagyu cattle).

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Solution for small farmers

The average farm size in India is about 1 hectare (100 m x 100 m) and farms in Mexico and China are similarly small. This gives very little pricing power to the small farmer, who has to accept whatever price is offered by the owner of the nearby sugar plant. The CelloFuel solution is affordable by small farmers, and gives a larger profit to the farmer than selling his crop to a bigger plant. The small farmer makes a profit by making ethanol (80% to 95% by volume), and gets value by having silage for livestock year round, especially in the dry season.

Reduces the operating cost of extracting sugars

About 35% of the conventional cost of extracting sugar from sweet sorghum or sugarcane is the cost of crushing the stalks. The CelloFuel method is a much less expensive way to get the sugar from the stalks while simultaneously fermenting these sugars to ethanol. The CelloFuel reagent reduces the energy needed to crush the stalks.

Produces hydrous ethanol

The CelloFuel solution produces hydrous ethanol at 80% to 95% ABV, with an integrated low-cost distillation column. This can be used to produce potable ethanol, fuel for motors and fuel for cooking.

Patent Status (April 27, 2017)

  • Methods and systems for producing sugars from carbohydrate-rich substrates
  • Methods and systems for producing fermentation products from carbohydrate-rich substrates
  • Methods for fermenting carbohydrate-rich crops
    • US9499839 (USA) status: Granted
    • Submitted to EU, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, India and Argentina patent offices
  • Method for fermenting stalks of the Poaceae family
    • US9631209 (USA) status: Granted
    • International Patent App. No. PCT/US17/16620 filed February 5, 2017
    • IN201717012771 filed with India Patent Office
    • Filed with EU, Russia, Brazil, China and Argentina patent offices
  • Method and apparatus for submerged fermentation
    • Provisional patent application filed in US patent office
  • Method for pretreating lignocellulosic material
    • Provisional patent application filed in US patent office
  • Method for separating ethanol from fermented biomass
    • Provisional patent application filed in US patent office

Project Status (April 27, 2017)

Made first presentation of our vacuum infusion technology at Graintek 2015 in Moscow.

Presented at BIOMASS: Fuel & Power, April 6-7 in Moscow.

Presented at World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology, April 17-20 in San Diego, CA.

Technical meeting with Beijing Sangliang Technology Development Center in Beijing July 7-8, 2016 (Chinese version)

Signed Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation with Beijing Sangliang Technology Development Center (Chinese version)

Cooperation agreement for testing with sweet sorghum at Delta BioRenewables in Memphis, Tennessee

Tested latest CelloFuel infusion Mechanism with sweet sorghum and fermentation was successful and softening of stalks was also successful

Field Testing of CelloFuel Infusion Module with 15 ft (5 m) sweet sorghum stalks was successful

Design of lower cost CelloFuel Infusion Mechanism in progress

Procuring 1 ton of sugar beets week of February 6 for testing at lab in Minneapolis

Technical design meeting for sugar beet processing in Moscow, February 9-10

Currently constructing prototype low-cost integrated distillation system

CelloFuel Infusion Mechanisism, 100 mm rollers, V4 (October, 2016)

PVC CelloFuel Infusion Mechanism V4

PVC CelloFuel Infusion Mechanism V4

Distribution of Sugar-rich Crops

Distribution of Sugar-Rich Crops (click here for bigger image)

Converts sugar-rich biomass to ethanol near the harvest site

CelloFuel modules cost-effectively convert sugar-rich biomass to ethanol near the harvest site. Our initial focus is on sweet sorghum and sugarcane. Crops are harvested as usual, but can be kept on the farm for conversion to ethanol and used year-round for animal feed.

Lengthens the time for processing a crop

Most sugar-rich biomass needs to be processed quickly after harvest to prevent spoilage, but this results in equipment not being used year-round. The CelloFuel modules immediately infuse the CelloFuel reagent into sugar-rich biomass, and the resulting fermentation allows the stalks to be stored without degradation for up to a year. This allows efficient year-round production of ethanol and year-round use to feed livestock.

Reduces transportation costs of biomass

One of the major costs of producing ethanol from biomass is the cost of transporting the biomass to the biorefinery. Biomass has low bulk density and is costly to transport. Conversion to ethanol on the farm is an efficient way to reduce transportation costs.

Reduces spoilage of biomass

Sugar-rich biomass begins to spoil immediately after harvest because microorganisms are attracted to sugar and because the biomass breathes (respires). Because the CelloFuel modules quickly convert sugar-rich biomass to ethanol-rich biomass, problems of spoilage are reduced.

Feeding bagasse to livestock

Sweet sorghum and sugarcane bagasse is commonly used as livestock feed in many parts of the world, especially northern China and western India. Sweet sorghum grows in saline (salty) soils where most other crops can't grow, and survives with less rainfall than other crops because of its deep root system.

Feeding sweet sorghum grain to pigs and chickens

The nutritional value of sweet sorghum grain is comparable to maize (corn) when fed to pigs and chickens, and the fat from sorghum-fed pigs is whiter than that from maize-fed pigs. Low-tannin varieties of sweet sorghum are needed for palatability of the grain.

Improves quality of milk in dairy cows

Many studies show that milk quality is improved by feeding dairy cows a diet enriched in ethanol and acetic acid. More milk is also produced. Feed enriched by ethanol and acetic acid also improves the quality meat produced from cattle, sheep and goats.

Advanced Technologies

CelloFuel modules use patented and patent-pending technologies.

Multiple feedstocks

CelloFuel modules can produce ethanol from most sugar-rich biomass, including sweet sorghum, sugarcane and sugar beets.

Transportable modules

CelloFuel modules can be transported close to harvest sites where sugar-rich biomass is collected and processed. Everything necessary for infusing a harvest of 10 hectares of sweet sorghum (70 tons/hectare processed at 1 ton/hr) can be transported in a small truck.

Power requirements

The CelloFuel Infusion Mechanism runs on a small gasoline motor for power, about the size of a lawn-mower motor. This allows operation of CelloFuel modules in remote locations without utility power or diesel generators.

Distillation heating/cooling

CelloFuel modules can use solar heating and air cooling for the low-cost distillation column or can burn dried sugar cane stalks or sweet sorghum stalks for heating.

Water requirements

CelloFuel modules require about 100 L of water per ton of sweet sorghum or sugarcane.

Other requirments

CelloFuel modules are loaded with biomass at the harvest site. After fermentation and subsequent crushing to remove the ethanol, the remainder is used as feed for livestock for burned for energy to power distillation.