Hamrick Engineering gets patent for sugars and nanocellulose extraction
November 27, 2015 - Hamrick Engineering recently announced the granting of a broad patent for extracting sugars and nanocellulose from lignocellulosic biomass by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
“This ground-breaking patent describes how to extract sugars and nanocellulose from lignocellulosic biomass using a low-cost process,” ays Edward Hamrick, president of Hamrick Engineering. “It provides a foundation for technologies to produce low-cost sugars, transportation fuels and nano-crystalline cellulose from wood chips and waste paper. This patent is also pending in Canada, Europe and Russia, which confirms our intention to be a leading developer in the green energy sector.”
The U.S. Patent office granted U.S. Patent App. 14/608,183 titled Methods and systems for producing sugars from carbohydrate-rich substrates and issued U.S. Patent Number 9,194,012. This new technology uses an environmentally benign technique of vacuum infusion of hydrolysis catalysts into biomass.
“We completely re-thought the way to extract sugars and nanocellulose from biomass, since making $100M plants to process biomass has proven to be risky and often unprofitable,” said Hamrick. “Our approach is to not try to disrupt or degrade biomass with high temperatures, high pressures and harsh chemicals, but to instead to use a totally new process of vacuum infusion of hydrolysis catalysts into biomass, pumping these catalysts in and out of the lumen by cycling vacuum. This lets us cost-effectively produce sugars, ethanol or nano-crystalline cellulose from softwood chips or waste paper.”
Hamrick Engineering is also in the final stages of validating related patent-pending vacuum infusion technologies, including technologies for in-field fermentation of sugar cane, sugar beet and sweet sorghum. These technologies are currently fermenting more than 90 per cent of the sugar in these crops without requiring crushing or hot water.
“With the advent of $50 oil, the oversupply of sugar in the world and reductions in government subsidies for green energy, we’ve also completely re-thought the way crops are processed to produce transportation fuels. We’ve produced a new technology for in-field production of transportation fuels that makes it possible for small farmers to produce ethanol with very low capital costs at even higher sugar conversion efficiency than a large plant. We believe that farmers are the best stewards of their own land, and this patent-pending technology provides a more environmentally friendly way to process sugar-rich biomass.” said Hamrick.
The first public presentation of these technologies will be at GrainTek 2015 in Moscow, Russia on November 18-19, 2015 (www.graintek.org).
“Russia is the world’s largest producer of sugar beets, has the potential to be the world’s largest producer of sweet sorghum and has the world’s largest softwood forests. Transportation infrastructure is underdeveloped, and since this invention reduces the need for transportation of biomass, it’s a good fit for the Russian market.” said Hamrick.
Hamrick Engineering are planning to announce products based on these technologies in 2016, both for small farmers and for large agricultural companies.
About Hamrick Engineering
Hamrick Engineering was founded in 2013 by Edward Hamrick. The first product, the CelloFuel Portable Biomass Refinery, is planned for delivery in 2016. The CelloFuel modules convert sugar-rich biomass such as sugar beet, sugar cane and sweet sorghum to ethanol. For further information about CelloFuel please visit www.cellofuel.com.
Edward Hamrick is the inventor of this technology and has a degree (with honours) in Engineering and Applied Science from the California Institute of Technology (CalTech). He worked for a number of years at NASA, Boeing and Convex Computer Corporation, and has been a successful entrepreneur for the past 15 years.
Dr. Luca Zullo has provided consulting services, patent reduction to practice and validation testing of this technology. He holds a Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Padua, Italy and a Ph.D. also in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London, United Kingdom. He started his career at Shell Research in The Netherlands where he participated in the design and automation of novel petrochemical and oil processes. He joined Cray Research to lead the effort to apply high-performance computing applications to the petrochemical and oil refining industry.
After joining Cargill, he focused on biofuels and bio-energy in plant operations with an emphasis on “waste” to energy and second generation biofuels. During that time, he also led the technical effort of a group that developed domestically and internationally methane capture and bio-energy projects in agricultural operations to harvest renewable energy and carbon credits. He is the founder of VerdeNero LLC, a technical service and consulting firm for the biomass and biofuels industry.