John McBride is a Sr. Director of R&D at Mascoma LLC, a subsidiary of Lallemand Inc., leading the companies’ technology development and deployment for new products in the Brazilian ethanol production market, and for cellulosic ethanol production. In particular, John has led the efforts to bring the first genetically modified strain of yeast appropriate for cell recycle and acid washing process to the Brazilian ethanol market, a commercial product called SucraMax™. He has also overseen the efforts to bring a commercial product called C5Fuel™, a robust yeast strain that can ferment both C5 and C6 sugars, to the market for cellulosic ethanol fermentations. John obtained his B.A. Mathematics and Biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and his Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. His Ph.D. work focused on expressing cellulolytic enzymes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Since joining Mascoma in 2007, John has worked as a scientist and technical manager developing yeast biocatalysts, associated enzyme systems and metabolic pathways, and optimized fermentation processes. He has been named an inventor on 6 granted patents, more than 10 additional patent applications, and authored or co-authored more than 10 publications.
Advanced Yeast Biocatalysts for Brazilian Ethanol Production
Mascoma LLC, a subsidiary of Lallemand Inc., has developed and deployed the first commercial genetically modified (GM) yeast to be widely used for fuel ethanol production. To date, we have released several generations of products for corn ethanol which reduce enzyme requirements and increase ethanol yields.
In the last several years Mascoma has been adapting our core technologies for application to the Brazilian sugar ethanol sector. We have developed and deployed the first GM yeast strain for the cell recycle fermentation process, called SucraMax™ which increases ethanol yields and decreases glycerol production. Mascoma has also developed a suite of technologies for the processing of lignocellulosic derived sugars. In particular, we have used our experience in process modeling and design of cellulosic ethanol facilities, coupled with our knowledge of advanced yeast biocatalysts to propose an integrated cellulosic biorefinery concept for the Brazilian market. This concept involves the solubilization and co-extraction of C5 sugars along with sucrose by incorporating a pretreatment reactor with the traditional milling process. An advanced, C5 utilizing yeast strain is then used to co-ferment the sucrose and C5 sugars in the typical cell recycle and acid washing process configuration. We find that this configuration would produce by far the lowest cost 2G ethanol available, with estimated minimum ethanol selling price (MESP) as low as R$0.57/L to R$0.97/L at a 10% return. The focus of this talk will be to describe our progress with respect to bringing advanced biotechnology to improve Brazilian ethanol production, both through our first commercial product (SucraMax™), and our vision for future advances that can access and incorporate 2G sugars.