Innovative fermentation process for oil production
Physical Sciences, Energie und Umwelt
- Cost-efficient fermentation process
- Green process, simple final recovery of oil
- Broad range of low-cost base materials usable
Fats and oils are key raw materials for chemical industry. Currently, palm oil is the most important raw vegetable oil and produced in huge quantities. However, palm oil production poses a severe threat to the environment, because large acreages of tropical rain forest are destroyed every year to make way for palm oil monocultures. Since oil palms are nevertheless the most productive oil plants available, replacing palm oil by other conventional vegetable oils only shifts the ecological problem geographically. The issue of using a large proportion of arable land for oil production remains unchanged.
The present innovation describes a fermentation process for the microbial production of fats and oils. As raw materials, cheap sugar-rich hydrolysates of algae, lignocellulose or other plant materials can be used. An enzymatic one-pot process allows simple final recovery of the produced oils and fats by centrifugation, whereby the residual biomass can be re-used as carbon source for the process. The cyclical process is thus both cost-effective and eco-friendly and the resulting products offer an alternative to palm oil for industrial use. Feasibility has been shown using marine biomass as starting material.
Fats and oils are essential raw materials for e.g. the following sectors:
- Chemical industry
- Fuel industry
- Biotech industry
Proof of concept on laboratory scale.