Xethanol Forms Biomass Lab at Virginia Tech

Xethanol Corporation announced the establishment of the Xethanol Advanced Biomass Characterization Laboratory at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Virginia. The company renewed its research agreement with Virginia Tech that is focused on developing efficient means of producing ethanol using cellulosic feedstocks.

The research is led by Dr. Foster A. Agblevor, Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. As part of its existing research partnership, Xethanol loaned more than $200,000 in specialized laboratory testing equipment to Virginia Tech.

“Dr. Agblevor is regarded as one of the leading researchers in cellulosic ethanol,” said Xethanol President and CEO David Ames. “I have seen his dedication first hand at Virginia Tech and I look forward to further advancements in this important area of research. Cellulosic is clearly the future of the ethanol industry.”

The partnership, first established in 2005, seeks to find methods of producing ethanol from cellulosic biomass by focusing on four areas: steam explosion for pre-treating the biomass; advanced enzymes for hydrolyzing steam exploded biomass; a composite predictive model coupling with economic analysis; and scaling up of steam explosion, hydrolysis and fermentation.

Dr. Agblevor of Virginia Tech commented: “For efficient product research, development, and manufacturing there is a need for a high quality laboratory to support the activities of the organization. Thus, the establishment of the Xethanol Advanced Biomass Characterization Laboratory at Virginia Tech will not only speed up research and development of new products for the company, it will also be used to improve the quality of products already in the pipeline. Rapid screening of feedstocks which are critical for both cellulosic ethanol and other bio-based products can be readily accomplished at this laboratory.”

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