For every ton of corn, wheat, and rice harvested today, an equal amount of biomass is left behind on the fields. Within this biomass — of which nearly 2 billion tons are produced each year around the world — nature locks away huge stores of inaccessible sugars. But it requires pre-treatment, which has proven to be a technical barrier of importance in commercially scaled cellulosic biofuels. Ammonia fiber expansion pretreatment, or AFEX, has been touted as a solution.
MBI’s AFEX technology is designed to be “a game-changing agricultural innovation, sustainably expanding our capacity to supply both cattle feed and transportation fuels, while reducing our environmental footprint.”
“What is exciting about [AFEX] is that it enables a low-cost production of AFEX pretreated biomass, while cost-effectively recycling and reusing the catalyst used during the process,” said Tim Campbell, MBI’s Project Manager and AFEX Process Engineer — also the lead inventor on the patent. “This innovation makes the AFEX process highly robust as well as simple to reproduce and operate. If not for the design breakthrough covered by this patent, the enormous potential global impact of AFEX technology could not be economically realized.”
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