Part of the present challenge to cellulosic biomass conversion is the large amount of capital investment required for the existing system of industrial enzyme production – i.e. microbial/fungal fermentation of enzymes. For example, a 50 million gallon per year cellulosic biofuel facility requires 1.5 million kg of cellulase enzymes annually. Using a microbial fermentation system to produce these enzymes would require a $100 million upfront capital investment (for tanks and associated infrastructure and control systems), as well as $15 million in annual operating costs ($10/kg enzyme).
Alternatively, to produce these enzymes using Infinite Enzymes’ plant-based cellulase production system would require a $2 million capital investment (for dry milling and defatting equipment) and $11.7 million in annual operating costs ($7.8/kg). Since the corn starch and oil can be sold to offset the cost of production of the corn, there is potential to further reduce this operating cost. For facilities already using microbial enzymes there is the opportunity to introduce Infinite Enzymes’ cellulase enzymes to enhance their cellulosic biomass conversion process and reduce operating costs.