A team from the National Institute of Applied Sciences (Insa) in Toulouse is working on obtaining economical biofuels, given the high price of a barrel of oil and the worrying level of greenhouse gas emissions.
These scientists have succeeded in obtaining a continuous productivity of bioethanol 20 to 30 times higher than that of factories currently in operation, a promising result while the production cost of biofuels is still higher in France than that of gasoline or diesel. .
To do this, Insa's biotechnology-bioprocess laboratory has developed a two-stage bioreactor, the second of which makes it possible to obtain a very large quantity of microorganisms using a membrane. Per cubic meter of fermentation must, the process developed makes it possible to obtain 40 kg of bioethanol at 8 degrees of alcohol per hour.
From glucose, the team also produces bioethanol at 19 degrees in two days, a result also considered to be very efficient. "And we have not yet reached the performance limits," recalls Xavier Cameleyre, research engineer at Insa.
French bioethanol, mainly obtained from beet and wheat, as well as biodiesel, extracted from oilseeds and marketed under the name of diester, are used respectively as fuel additives for gasoline and diesel engines.