Novel Process for Production of Fatty Acids from Lignocellulosic Biomass

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Technology Holding, LLC
825 North 300 West Array
Salt Lake City, UT 84103
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


Environmental Benefits: The proposed technology relates to Climate change and sustainable energy. Fatty acids are currently produced from palm oil, 80% of which comes from Malaysia and Indonesia. Both these countries have finite land available and often times rainforests are destroyed to make way for palm plantations. This activity puts tremendous strain on ecological balance. Moreover, a significant amount of N2O (a very potent greenhouse gas) is liberated into the atmosphere due to land-use-change and CO2 is evolved from the forest destruction. Fatty acids are also pre-cursors for diesel and jet fuel, both of which are currently being produced from crude oil. Since the fatty acids produced from the proposed process are from ligno-cellulosic biomass, chemicals and fuels will be more sustainable compared to petroleum or palm as feedstock. Economic Benefits As the world economies expanded from $38 Trillion to $60 Trillion GDP over the last decade, consumer product demand has proportionately increased. Fatty acid prices have quadrupled over the last decade and continue to increase. Fatty acids have a number of consumer applications including cosmetics, soaps, shampoos and other products. This Small Business Innovation Research project will demonstrate techno-economic feasibility of a novel bioprocess to produce fatty acids from lignocellulosic biomass. The proposed process utilizes engineered E. coli culture to convert sugars from lignocellulosic biomass to extracellular fatty acids. The proposed technology upon successful demonstration has the potential to create more than 500 direct and indirect jobs per commercial plant in the rural America.