Technologies

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WARF Technologies

You can also view all of our technologies on the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) website »

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.

Modified Yeast to Boost Biofuel Yields

Trey Sato, Jeff Piotrowski

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Producing biofuel on an industrial scale requires efficient fermentation of cellulosic plant material. Glucose and xylose are two of the most abundant sugars found in biomass. The yeast most commonly used for fermentation – Saccharomyces cerevisiae – can ferment glucose but not xylose.

Researchers hope to improve fermentation by identifying/mutating...

Patent application submitted

Better Biomass Conversion with Recyclable GVL Solvent

James Dumesic, Jeremy Luterbacher

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To recover useful carbohydrates locked in biomass, molecular bonds must be broken while avoiding further reaction of the resulting glucose and xylose sugars. This is a challenge because glucose can degrade quicker than it is produced. Fast, hot reactions try to minimize such degradation, but are impractical. Expensive catalysts and...

Patent application submitted

Transgenic Lignin Easier to Break Down for Biofuel

John Ralph, Curtis Wilkerson, Saunia Withers, Shawn Mansfield

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Lignocellulosic biomass is a very desirable feedstock for biofuel production. If the fermentation process could be optimized, conversion of this biomass could yield 25 to 50 billion gallons of ethanol or other biofuels per year.

Yet lignocellulose is composed of tough lignin, cellulose and hemicelluloses that resist breakdown. This limits...

Patent application submitted

Conversion of Biomass Sugars via Fermentation

Brian Pfleger, James Dumesic, Jeremy Luterbacher, Jacqueline Rand

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Microorganisms like yeast and Escherichia coli are cultured in labs for many purposes, notably the production of useful chemicals (such as ethanol) via fermentation. The growth media used in these processes are relatively expensive. Cheaper media derived from renewable resources would be a boon to researchers and industries that rely...

Patent application submitted

Wisconsin-Sourced Lager Yeast

Chris Hittinger, David Peris Navarro, Kayla Sylvester

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Beer can be divided into two broad categories: ales and lagers. Ales have been brewed for thousands of years. They are warm fermented (up to 80° F) for as little as three weeks using top-fermenting yeast (i.e., yeast that rises when fermentation is complete).

In contrast, lagers were first brewed...

Patent application submitted

Lignin from Transgenic Poplar Is Easier to Process

John Ralph, Curtis Wilkerson, Saunia Withers, Shawn Mansfield

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Lignin is an important plant cell wall component that provides structural support and vascular functions. It is one of the most abundant organic polymers on Earth, constituting about 30 percent of non-fossil organic carbon. However, the chemical structure of lignin is difficult to break down by chemical and enzymatic means,...

Patent application submitted

Natural Antiobiotic to Treat Clostridium Infection and More

Timothy Bugni, Thomas Wyche, Douglas Braun, Jeff Piotrowski, Nasia Safdar

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Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is an escalating problem, especially in hospital settings. The Centers for Disease Control recently identified Clostridium difficile as posing an “urgent” health threat, highlighting the need for new and effective therapeutics.

C. difficile is the most common cause of nosocomial infectious diarrhea. The bacteria sicken half a...

Patent application submitted

High Yield Method to Produce LGO from Biomass

George Huber, Fei Cao, James Dumesic, Thomas Schwartz

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Levoglucosenone (LGO) is a highly dehydrated sugar typically derived from cellulose. It is an important, non-petroleum building block chemical with potential uses in a wide range of industrial processes. For example, it can be converted to 1,6-hexanediol to be utilized in the production of polyurethanes and polyesters.

Conventionally,...

Patent application submitted

Modified Yeast with Enhanced Tolerance for GVL Biomass Solvent

Jeff Piotrowski, Trey Sato, Chad Myers, Robert Landick

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Gamma-valerolactone (GVL) is an inexpensive solvent derived from biomass that can be used to break apart tough lignocellulose into fermentable sugars including xylose and glucose. GVL-based techniques are a potentially transformative breakthrough in biofuel production (for more information see WARF reference number P130123US01).

Problematically, residual levels of GVL...

Patent application submitted

Grass Modified for Easier Bioprocessing

John Ralph, Curtis Wilkerson, Saunia Withers, John Sedbrook

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Manufacturing paper and producing biofuels is difficult because the lignin in plant cell walls is tough to degrade. Current techniques are energy intensive and use harsh chemicals. In the case of biofuels, costly pretreatments are required to alter the lignin and help enzymes produce sugars for fermentation. Grass lignins contain...

Patent application submitted

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