Qteros, Israel-based recycling company partner to produce cellulosic ethanol

By Erin Voegele | October 06, 2009
Report posted Oct. 8, 2009, at 1:24 p.m. CST

Qteros, a Massachusetts-based advanced biofuels company, and Applied CleanTech, an Israel-based recycling company, have entered into a joint development project to produce cellulosic ethanol.

The two companies have been working together for nearly a year. The joint project has been funded in part through a grant awarded by the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation, which funds joint efforts between Israel and the U.S.

ACT's technology focuses on the production of Recyllose, a recycled solids-based cellulosic feedstock that is produced from municipal wastewater. Qteros' cellulosic conversion technology is based on the QMicrobe, a naturally occurring microbe that is able to convert a wide variety of cellulosic feedstock directly into ethanol.

According to Jeff Hausthor, Qteros co-founder and senior project manager, initial work on the project has focused on improving how the two technologies work together. He said research has shown that Qteros technology can produce between120 gallons to 135 gallons of ethanol per ton of Recyllose feedstock. Hausthor said these high yields are achievable because Recyllose contains high levels of cellulose and hemicellulose, but little lignin. He said using ACT's feedstock improves cellulosic plant operational efficiency 20 percent over higher lignin content feedstocks.

The next step in the joint effort will be to scale up research at Qteros pilot-scale facility. By 2011, the two companies intend to co-market the technologies to municipalities worldwide.

Qteros is also working to develop a potential demonstration-scale facility. On Oct. 9 the company will launch the build-out of its cellulosic pretreatment plant site, which will be located adjacent to the Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee, Mass. The facility is expected to be in small-scale production by the end of the year, and has the potential to become the site for the company's full-scale pilot and manufacturing plants.

According to Hausthor, the facility is being developed in two stages. While the first stage pretreatment portion of the facility is expected to be operational by the end of the year, development of the second stage of the project is dependent on the outcome of a pending U.S. DOE grant application.