Microvi awarded USDA grant for biobutanol technology

By Microvi Biotechnologies | August 07, 2013

The USDA awarded Microvi Biotechnologies a grant to develop its breakthrough technology that dramatically improves the yield and performance of biobutanol processes. The technology overcomes the toxic and inhibitory effects on butanol producing microorganisms, a major bottleneck in scaling existing biobutanol processes.

Microvi’s butanol technology is based on the company’s MicroNiche Engineering, a process which enhances microbial physiology and optimizes enzymatic performance.

“A diversified energy future based on biobutanol and other low-cost biofuels requires new technologies for maximizing feedstock conversion efficiency and reducing operating costs” said Ameen Razavi, director of innovation research. “Through this effort, we open a new paradigm for managing toxic stresses for biobutanol production leading to economical production.”

As a fuel or gasoline additive, bioutanol has many advantages over ethanol, including drop-in capability, higher energy content and better transport and handling properties.  In addition, butanol can also be used as a building block for chemicals and polymers. 

Based on preliminary investigation Microvi’s technology has shown that it substantially increase the titer concentration of butanol over its solubility limit leading to effective biobutanol production. Microvi’s technology is also expected to provide economic advantages such as reduced water usage, waste production and energy use.  Biobutanol processes using Microvi’s technology would benefit from reduced capital and operating costs. The technology will be retrofitable in existing bioethanol processes and work with any microorganism including genetically modified organisms.

Microvi’s biobutanol technology can help achieve energy independence, diversify uses of agricultural and rural resources and reduce negative economic and environmental impacts associated with dependence on petroleum.