United Catalyst, LLC has created “artificial enzymes”, a low-cost and highly stable alternative to biological enzymes used in the production of advanced biofuels.
Many companies and scientists have been working to replace transportation fuels and other applications of petrochemicals with cellulosic waste that includes paper, crop residues, sawdust, and forestry refuse. Currently, agricultural products like corn and sugar cane are used to make ethanol, but agricultural feedstock is limited and subject to the supply and demand curves of food supplies.
By contrast, cellulose-based feedstock consists largely of glucose, and is a more ideal source of sugar, because it is less expensive and more plentiful. However, one of the greatest obstacles to using cellulose-based feedstock is the high cost and complexity of the biological enzymes that are needed to release the glucose, or sugar, from the cellulose molecules. These biological enzymes must be harvested from micro-organisms and handled carefully to perform within industrial conditions.
United Catalyst has created CHIPs (Cellulose Hydrolyzing Imprinted Polymers), “artificial enzymes” that serve as a low-cost and highly stable alternative to these biological enzymes. Thus, cellulose can become economically viable as a feedstock for ethanol and renewable chemicals.