Technologies

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GLBRC's Technologies

Technologies

As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Research Center, we are positioned to make key discoveries and major advances that will lead to breakthrough technologies for eventual large-scale conversion of biomass into fuels. Each new invention, patent and license listed here represents another step toward that goal.

GLBRC is seeking commercial partners interested in developing the following technologies. You can also view GLBRC technologies on the DOE Energy Innovation Portal.

Microbes Produce High Yields of Fatty Alcohols from Glucose

Brian Pfleger, J. Tyler Youngquist

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Fatty alcohols are used in detergents, emulsifiers, lubricants and personal care items. More than 1.3 million tons of fatty alcohols are used worldwide each year, representing a $3 billion market.

Currently, fatty alcohols are produced either through the processing of natural fats and oils or from petrochemicals. As...

Patent application submitted

Selective Conversion of Lignin into Simple Aromatic Compounds

Shannon Stahl, Alireza Rahimi

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Lignin is a major component of non-edible biomass (15-30 percent by weight; 40 percent by energy). It is a cheap byproduct of pulp and biofuel production and is one of the few naturally occurring sources of high-volume aromatic compounds. Converting lignin’s complex biopolymer structure into simple organic chemicals attracts substantial...

Patent issued

Two-Step Process Converts Lignin into Simple Aromatic Compounds

Shannon Stahl, Alireza Rahimi, Joshua Coon, Arne Ulbrich

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Lignin is a major component of non-edible biomass. It is a cheap byproduct of pulp and biofuel production and is one of the few naturally occurring sources of valuable aromatic compounds. Converting lignin’s complex biopolymer structure into simple organic chemicals has attracted major interest.

For example, the world’s...

Patent application submitted

Extending Juvenile Stage of Plants for Biofuels and Feedstock

Shawn Kaeppler, Natalia de Leon Gatti, Jillian Foerster

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Juvenile and adult grass tissue dramatically differs in anatomy, chemistry and ability to withstand stresses. Juvenile plants cannot flower and their leaves are better able to resist cold and drought. Moreover, they may be easier to process for biofuels and more digestible when used as feed.

The genes controlling the...

Patent issued

Gene Controls Flowering Time in Corn

Shawn Kaeppler, Natalia de Leon Gatti, German Muttoni, Jillian Foerster

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Plant development is marked by three phases: juvenile, adult vegetative and flowering. The timing between phases is known to impact traits like yield, productivity and tissue digestibility. However, the genetic triggers that drive these phase changes are not fully understood.

UW–Madison researchers previously identified a gene in maize...

Patent application submitted

Producing Linear Alpha Olefins from Biomass

James Dumesic, Dong Wang, David Martin Alonso, Sikander Hakim

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Linear alpha olefins (LAOs) are valuable commodity chemicals traditionally derived from petroleum. They are versatile building blocks for making a range of chemical products like polyethylene, synthetic oils, plasticizers, detergents and oilfield fluids.

Relying on fossil fuel to manufacture LAOs is problematic. Not only are the standard methods...

Patent application submitted

Concentrated C5 and C6 Sugars from Biomass

James Dumesic, David Martin Alonso, Jeremy Luterbacher

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Widespread production of sustainable fuels and chemicals will require cost-effective methods for breaking down biomass into its constituent sugars. Attaining high yields of concentrated C5 and C6 carbohydrates (e.g., xylose and glucose) is particularly challenging. Many processes have been tested but all have drawbacks such as very high temperatures or...

Patent application submitted

Biofuel-Producing Lactobacillus Strain

James Steele, Jeffrey Broadbent

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Microbial transformation of biomass into biofuels remains an important part of the United States’ strategy to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels. To produce ethanol from biomass, microbes must be able to efficiently metabolize plant sugars into ethanol under industrial fermentation stresses.

Naturally occurring microorganisms have not evolved...

Patent issued

Powerful New Enzyme for Transforming Biomass

Brian Fox, Christopher Bianchetti, Taichi Takasuka

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Converting plant cellulose and hemicellulose into fermentable sugars is a major bottleneck in the biofuel industry. Chemical pretreatment and enzyme hydrolysis (breakdown) usually are required.

Among chemical pretreatments, ammonia fiber expansion (AFEX) alkaline pretreatment has many advantages. For example, it is a dry process and results in cleaved...

Patent application submitted

Modified Microbes Tolerate 50-Fold More Organic Acid

Brian Pfleger, Matthew Begemann

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Production of industrial chemicals has long relied on petroleum-based starting material. As reserves of fossil carbon dwindle, a new approach is looking to microorganisms and their ability to convert renewable sources into valuable chemicals.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently targeted several ‘building block’ chemicals that could be produced...

Patent application submitted

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