The TMO Process

In June 2008, the company commissioned an industrial scale Process Demonstration Unit (PDU) to demonstrate the commercial capability of the TMO Process. Covering an area of 12,000 square feet and costing £7.8 million, it is a multi-feedstock processing facility providing clients with an opportunity to have their own feedstock processed and turned into bioethanol and other co-products.

With an integrated engineering solution, the TMO Process can be developed as a single functioning system on an industrial scale. With the focus on pretreatment conditions and specific enzyme cocktails, the most favourable fermentable cellulosic sugar stream can be produced.

Feedstock handling and preparation

The feedstock may need to be cleaned to reduce the impact on both the hardware and the process. The solids-handling techniques required, are widely used in many sectors of the chemical and process industries.

Where the material is a co-product of an existing process with the TMO Process applied as a ‘bolt-on’ application, the feedstock can be processed directly and often requires less pretreatment.

The TMO Process

The solid feedstock is pretreated with steam to produce a solution similar in consistency to peanut butter. This prepares the feedstock by breaking it up into a more manageable solution of cellulosic fibre portions with increased surface area that allows the enzymes to work on the fibres more effectively.

Next, the enzymes are added to this high solids concentrated material, releasing the sugars from the cellulosic material to leave a watery substance suitable for the final fermentation stage of our process.

We then add theTMO organism to further break down the material and ferment it into a ‘beer’ that is distilled to produce the end product, bioethanol.