Deinove: “We hope to finalize our second-generation ethanol in 2014″
World specialist in the deinococci bacteria applied to biofuels, Deinove announced last may Oseo’s support of the first key stage of its Deinol project. Ultimately, this program - co-driven with Tereos - aims to produce a second-generation ethanol using deinococci. Question and answer session with Jacques Biton, CEO of Deinove.
Cleantech Republic: What was the first stage of the Deinol project?
Jacques Biton: We determined what type of deinococcus would be most efficient in producing ethanol. For this, we collected approximately 200 samples in all parts of the world. In total, this work allowed us to gather nearly 7,000 different bacteria. We have chosen 1400 bacteria that were able to grow between 40 and 60 degrees Celsius. This selection was then reduced to 300, then 5, then one.
How important is this step for the Deinol research project?
This project is funded in stages. In financial terms, this approval allows us to benefit from the second round of funding from OSEO, or 1.579 million euros. More broadly, this support demonstrates that we are still in line with our initial goal. The more we advance in R & D, the greater our chance of success.
What is the next step after selecting the perfect Deinococcus?
We will study how to improve the efficiency of the Deinococcus. The bacterium that we have chosen is very effective in degrading biomass but we need to maximize its ability to produce ethanol. On a technological level, this includes moving from a small two-liter fermenter to a bioreactor of 300 liters by the end of 2012.
This requires a genetic modification…
On the contrary, our approach is non-GMO. It seems inconceivable to manipulate an organism in bioethanol plants located near large wheat fields. To improve the performance of our deinococci, we will instead pair it with other bacteria very effective at ethanol production. We also believe that this non-GMO approach will allow us to eventually facilitate the approval of our final product by the authorities and its use by industry.
When do you expect to complete production of your second-generation ethanol?
The Deinol project was planned in two stages. The first step, driven by Deinove, all the way up to the experimentation process in a 300 liter fermenter at end of 2012. Once this step is approved, the project will continue in Deinol’s Lisbon Tereos factory. We hope to finalize the project with a full-scale trial beginning in 2014.
Do you think a project like Deinol can help change the negative image of biofuels in France?
It’s a small but important step. Our technology offers a real alternative, using waste from agriculture (ie: straw, roots…). There is no competition with traditional agriculture. Today, biofuels no longer need be a threat to agricultural land but a source of benefits to the French economy. When we speak of the cleantech sector, we often think of renewable energy, but the second-generation biofuels will also soon change our relationship to the environment.