LS9, Inc., a manufacturer of renewable and sustainable chemicals and fuels, on Wednesday announced the expansion of its operations at its Okeechobee, Fla., demonstration facility with a successful customer trial.
The Florida facility was initially designed, and has been used, to scale-up LS9's fermentation technology and generate large commercial samples for testing and product qualification by key partners and prospective customers. Since the company's initial run at 135,000 liter scale in the third quarter of last year, LS9 has made several additional fatty alcohol runs of this size as well as smaller production runs of fatty acid methyl esters (biodiesel).
In addition, LS9 has successfully completed a pilot production run at its Florida plant for another advanced bioproducts company, Cobalt Technologies. Fermentation scale-up is an expensive proposition and requires the proper facilities and expertise to make an effective run. The need to run trials is also intermittent so it is not cost-effective for many companies in the industry to make the investment in a larger plant. LS9's Florida demonstration plant was designed to manage a multitude of processes, and with this successful customer run, LS9 has proven it can leverage its state-of-the-art facility and the expertise of its operations staff to work with partners to commercialize renewable products. Given the success of the initial production run, Cobalt is considering future work at LS9's Florida facility.
"The capability to transition from the lab to 135,000 liter scale is a key milestone on our road to commercial success, and we know we are not alone in this requirement," said Tjerk de Ruiter, president and CEO of LS9. "Our ability to support other companies' technology scale-up activities is not only an example of the flexibility and the capabilities of our team, it is also an excellent example of how, as an industry, we can work together to make a renewable future a reality. This new revenue source, together with a recent $6 million investment from our current investors, positions LS9 to enter into new partnerships with our technology and advance our own products."