CelloFuel Portable Biomass Refinery

CelloFuel modules cost-effectively convert sugar-rich biomass such as sugar beet, sugar cane and sweet sorghum to ethanol. CelloFuel modules use patented and patent-pending vacuum infusion technology to produce ethanol by infusing a proprietary reagent into the biomass under vacuum and then fermenting the whole tubers (beets) or stalks (billets) in an anaerobic environment. The ethanol is then extracted using vacuum stripping.

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Reduces the operating cost of extracting sugars

About 35% of the conventional cost of extracting sugar from sugar cane or sweet sorghum is the cost of crushing the stalks. The CelloFuel method is a much less expensive way to get the sugar from the stalks while simultaneously fermenting these sugars to ethanol.

Much of the conventional cost of extracting sugar from sugar beets is the cost of using hot water to extract sugar with diffusion. The CelloFuel technology is a much less expensive way to ferment the sugars with low-cost equipment and low energy costs.

Reduces the capital cost of extracting sugars

Biomass is infused under vacuum in a low-cost vessel with a rubber bladder covering the top of the vessel.

After infusion, the biomass is fermented in an anaerobic environment. As the biomass ferments, the sugars are converted to ethanol very cost efficiently.

Project Status (December 14, 2015)

Fermented more than 90% of sugar in sugar beet in 22 hours with vacuum infusion.

Fermented more than 90% of sugar in sugarcane in 24 hours with vacuum infusion.

Fermented more than 90% of sugar in sweet sorghum in 20 hours with vacuum infusion.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted US Patent 9,194,012 Methods and systems for producing sugars from carbohydrate-rich substrates.

Released Press Release about new technologies.

Submitted U.S. Patent App. No. 14/966,650 and International Patent App. No. PCT/US15/65416 Methods for Fermenting Carbohydrate-rich crops.

Made first presentation of our vacuum infusion technology at Graintek 2015 in Moscow.

Distribution of Sugar-rich Crops

Distribution of Sugar-Rich Crops (click here for bigger image)

Converts sugar-rich biomass to ethanol near the harvest site

CelloFuel modules cost-effectively convert sugar-rich biomass to ethanol near the harvest site. Our initial focus is on sugar beets, sugar cane and sweet sorghum. Crops are harvested as usual, but can be kept closer to the harvest site for conversion to ethanol.

Lengthens the time for processing a crop

Most sugar-rich biomass needs to be processed quickly after harvest to prevent spoilage, but this results in equipment not being used year-round. The CelloFuel modules immediately infuse a reagent into sugar-rich biomass, and the resulting fermentation allows the biomass to be stored without degradation for up to a year. This allows efficient year-round production of ethanol.

Reduces transportation costs of biomass

One of the major costs of producing ethanol from biomass is the cost of transporting the biomass to the biorefinery. Cellulosic feedstocks have low bulk density and are costly to transport. Conversion to ethanol at the source is an efficient way to reduce transportation costs.

For instance, a truck holding 12 m3 of sugar beets can produce 780 kg of ethanol, and the same truck holding sugar cane can produce 294 kg of ethanol. However, a 12 m3 truck holding of 50% ethanol solution holds 6000 kg of ethanol.

Reduces spoilage of biomass

Sugar-rich biomass begins to spoil immediately after harvest because microorganisms are attracted to sugar and because the biomass breathes (respires). Because the CelloFuel modules quickly convert sugar-rich biomass to ethanol-rich biomass, problems of spoilage are reduced.

Advanced Technologies

CelloFuel modules use patented technologies protected by US Patent Number 9,194,012 and patent-pending technologies in U.S. Patent App. No. 14/940,390 titled "Methods for Fermenting Carbohydrate-rich Crops".

Multiple feedstocks

CelloFuel modules can produce ethanol from most sugar-rich biomass, including sugar beets, sugar cane and sweet sorghum.

Transportable modules

CelloFuel modules can be transported close to harvest sites where sugar-rich biomass is collected and processed.

Pre-assembled modules

CelloFuel modules are pre-assembled in the factory and can be installed in only a few days. CelloFuel modules can be installed at or near harvest sites. Site preparation is simple - four posts in the ground for each container, single-phase power and water. Alternatively, power can be provided by diesel generators and the water supply can come from a refillable water tank nearby.


Click here for the preliminary CelloFuel specifications.