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Conversion of Eastern Redcedar to Butanol Using a Novel Biocatalytic Process

2013 DOT-RITA Center Award


PI: Dr. Hasan Atiyeh (Oklahoma State University, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering)
Co-PI: Dr. Mark Wilkins (Oklahoma State University)

Funded: 149,999

Start Date: 1/1/2013

End Date: 12/31/2015


Expected Outcomes:

Successful completion of this project will involve development of a novel biocatalytic process with increased conversion efficiency to make biofuels. At the conclusion of this project, Atiyeh’s research team will identify the factors that result in maximum butanol productivity and yield.  Increased butanol and alcohol yields from the developed process in a facility that utilizes 2,000 dry metric tons of Eastern redcedar per day is expected to result in an increase in net revenues of over $33 million per year when compared to traditional sugar fermentation. Additionally, an attractive opportunity exists for Oklahoma in the use of Eastern redcedar, which is a tree that is regarded as a pest by most ranchers and rural landowners.  It is estimated that there are over 11 million metric tons of redcedar in northwestern Oklahoma. The infestation of redcedars across grasslands in the Central Plains has resulted in lost pasture for cattle grazing, water use by the trees and allergy problems during pollination. This project will not only allow reduction of the redcedar infestation problem, but also convert them into transportation fuels.

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