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Australian biofuel yeast developer gets USD 3m from ARENA

Corn stover. Author: Idaho National Laboratory. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

November 20 (Renewables Now) - The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will provide AUD 4.03 million (USD 3m/EUR 2.6m) to help Sydney-based Microbiogen develop yeast catalysts for more cost-effective and efficient production of bioethanol from plant waste.

ARENA's recoupable grant will support an AUD-8.06-million project that will see Microbiogen adapt and selectively breed a yeast strain capable of optimising second-generation bioethanol production, the agency said on Monday. The project is expected to accelerate the fermentation process, lower residual sugars, reduce production of unwanted by-products and allow higher solid loadings.

Microbiogen will be partnering with "a global industrial biotechnology market leader" who has provided the base strain and bring the end product to the global market.

"This project could improve the commercial viability of advanced biofuels and hopefully open up export opportunities in North America and Asia," said ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht.

(AUD 1 = USD 0.755/EUR 0.642)

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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