Coskata process

Remember that name because it may become a household name soon. The Coskata process is a relatively cheap method to create ethanol using a variety of feedstocks. Materials like agricultural waste, purposefully grown crops, switchgrass and waste materials like old tires and municipal waste call all be used.

The Coskata process is fundamentally a biological reaction that takes place inside a specialized reactor (which is simply a vessel to contain the microbes and keep them in an environment where they are happy to live and produce ethanol). Anaerobic bacteria are fed carbon monoxide and hydrogen (known as syngas), which are produced by gasification, which can be done a number of different ways, depending on the feedstock material. Scientists can even produce carbon monixide from CO2 and sunlight.

The reactor for this process is a sealed plastic tube filled with millions of filaments on which the bacteria live. Having bacteria living on the filaments provides an enormous amount of surface area for them to live on in a very concentrated volume. The syngas is passed through the reactor, and bacteria feed on the carbon monoxide and hydrogen and produce ethanol.

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