EdeniQ obtains key yeast technology from USDA

By Bryan Sims | June 15, 2011

California-based EdeniQ Inc. moved one step closer to making cellulosic ethanol a commercial reality when it licensed yeast technology, which can ferment C5 sugars such as xylose derived from lignocellulosic materials like corn stover, switchgrass and woodchips into ethanol, from the USDA Forest Products Laboratory and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

EdeniQ intends to showcase the newly-acquired yeast fermentation technology at its 2-ton-per-day cellulosic ethanol pilot plant currently under development in Visalia, Calif., anticipated to start operations in first quarter 2012. Construction of the cellulosic ethanol portion of the plant, expected to be complete by the end of the year, is part of a DOE-funded project with Logos Technologies Inc. that involves incorporating EdeniQ’s proprietary cellulosic ethanol conversion technology within an existing corn-ethanol production plant owned and operated by the company at the Visalia site.

“We have been pleased by the fruitful cooperation between our scientists and FPL and its continuation under the new CRADA,” said Thomas Griffin, vice president of technology at EdeniQ. “The FPL technology for fermenting C5 sugars is synergistic with our current C6 yeasts and complements our integrated technology package.”

According to EdeniQ, the license marks the culmination of a three-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the USDA’s FPL. Both parties have also agreed to their continue research and development collaboration in yeasts under a new two-year CRADA.

The USDA’s FPL operates in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the private, nonprofit patent and licensing arm for the UW-M, acted as licensor on behalf of FPL and the university.