A team of scientists from Michigan State University’s Office of Biobased Technologies proposes a patented process that seeks to break complex sugars from crop leftovers into simple sugars. Truly inspiring is the conversion ratio of 90 percent that is six times more than the traditional processes with just 15 percent conversion. The process named AFEX could later assist the team headed by MAES engineer Bruce Dale to produce biofuel affordably i.e. ‘about $2 per gallon in the relatively near future.’
Says Bruce Dale, the MAES engineer, in a MSU News update:
The AFEX process makes the breakdown of cellulose and hemicellulose more efficient. Using enzymes alone, about 15 percent of cellulose and hemicellulose is broken down into simple sugars; when AFEX is used before adding the enzymes, more than 90 percent of the cellulose and hemicellulose is broken down into fermentable sugars.
The process includes subjection of cellulosic biomass to ammonia that converts 90 percent of cellulose and hemicellulose into simple sugars. This cellulosic material may well be used for feed for beef and dairy cows, and downsizing it for easy transportation.