Ek Laboratories, Inc. (“Ek Labs”) is a subsidiary of Alliance BioEnergy. Ek Laboratories opened its full service analytical laboratory equipment and patented Cellulose-to-Sugar (CTS) lab in June 2015.
Ek’s lab is run by Dr. Peter Cohen. Laboratory capabilities and equipment include a HP Gas Chromatograph, JEOL DART Mass Spectrometer, Finnigan Ion Spectrometer, Waters Micromass with electrospray ionization, UV-VIS detection and MS-MS capabilities plus several methods of separation including gas and liquid chromatography, filtration and centrifugation. In addition, the lab is equipped for wet chemistry with chemical storage, gases, soxhlett extraction, distillation, reflux and gravimetric analysis. Of course, we also have our patented and proprietary CTS system.
The CTS process differs from all other cellulose conversion technologies due to the lack of cellulose pre-treatment, liquid acids, enzymes, and long processing times. The patented mechanical process converts the carbohydrate polymers into fermentable sugars in seconds with no enzymes, no toxic chemicals, and no waste. It is truly green: there are no emissions, no use of hazardous materials, fully recycled catalysts and water, 100% renewable fuel, and an almost zero carbon footprint. It has worked on every kind of cellulosic material that has been tried including grasses, various types of wood, paper, farm waste, yard waste, and nut shells. Even the cellulosic portion of municipal solid waste can be converted into its components of sugar and lignin.
Lignin is produced as a co-product, and tests show that the CTS process produces chemically unmodified lignin. Lignin may have other beneficial uses as input to create carbon nanofibers or bioplastics.
EK Labs is also able to separate the xylose and sell it as a separate co-product. Xylose is used to make xylitol, which is frequently used as a sweetener in sugarless gums. Initially, however, we will focus on producing cellulosic ethanol, diesel, and jet fuel. Later, both lignin and xylose streams can be added.
We expect to be able to produce sugar (and, hence, ethanol and other biofuels) at a much lower cost than any other cellulosic sugar in alternative processes, and even lower than corn, due to the fact that our feedstock is much less expensive.
Furthermore, because the CTS 2.0 is a mechanical/chemical process with modular design, it is scalable. We are in the development phase to upscale the proven bench scale system to a commercial system and should have a 1 ton/day pilot system in place by the beginning of the summer, 2020. A commercial-ready system is expected by early 2021.