CelloFuel Portable Biomass Refinery

CelloFuel modules cost-effectively produce ethanol from sugar beets, sugarcane and sweet sorghum. CelloFuel modules use patented infusion technologies to produce ethanol by (1) infusing yeast into sugar-rich biomass, (2) fermenting inside the biomass, (3) extracting the ethanol and simultaneously distilling ethanol in the biomass to 90% ethanol.

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Reduces the operating cost of extracting sugars

About 35% of the conventional cost of producing ethanol from sugar-rich biomass is the cost of extracting the sugars for fermenting. The CelloFuel method is a much less expensive technique. Instead of extracting the sugar, we infuse yeast into the biomass and ferment the sugars inside the biomass.

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 17, 2018)

  • 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
  • Method for fermenting stalks of the Poaceae family
    • US9631209 (USA) status: Granted
    • Allowance received from Russian patent office
    • International Patent App. No. PCT/US17/16620 filed February 5, 2017
    • IN201717012771 filed with India Patent Office
    • Filed with EU, Brazil, China and Argentina patent offices
  • Methods and apparatus for separating ethanol from fermented biomass
    • Filed with US, EU, Russia, Brazil, India and China patent offices

Converts sugar-rich biomass to ethanol near the harvest site

CelloFuel modules cost-effectively convert sugar-rich biomass to ethanol near the harvest site. Crops are harvested as usual, sugars are converted on the farm to hydrous ethanol, and then the remaining biomass is fed to animals, burned for energy, used for anaerobic digestion or applied to land as fertilizer.

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 cost of capital to produce ethanol

The Cellufuel modules have a very low cost of capital per liter (or gallon) of ethanol produced per year.

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. There are two types of vacuum infusion mechanisms, the first using U.S. Patent 9,631,209 and the second using U.S. Patent 9,499,839 (These patents are granted or pending in a number of other countries.)

No biomass pretreatment required

Sugar beets are used directly after harvest, with no need to use water to clean them or knives to slice them. Sugarcane and sweet sorghum either use whole stalks (for the first type) or billets (for the second type). Leaves can either be left on the stalks or removed from the stalks.

Steam heat required

Heat for steam stripping and distillation is required, about 1.2 kWh of steam per liter of ethanol (15 pounds of steam per gallon of ethanol).

Electrical power required

A small amount of electrical power is needed to run vacuum pumps for infusion (the first type) or an electric motor for infusion (the second type). Electrical power is also needed for the fans used for air-cooling during distillation.

Water requirements

CelloFuel modules require about 100 L of water per ton of biomass.