MicroBite, a Hyderabad based bio-ethanol startup, has developed a disruptive technology for ‘inline’ sterilization of liquid raw materials. This could be of significant importance to the ethanol industry, especially while handling the inventories of perishable materials for a longer period.
Bio-ethanol plants in India predominantly use conventional tanks for storing perishable raw materials. Sugarcane based molasses or sugar syrup contains natural enzymes that decompose the material over time. Being a seasonal crop, the raw materials extracted from sugarcane are procured and stored in bulk quantities. According to an industry estimate, there could be a drop of up to 5% in the total fermentable sugar content in the raw materials each year. This problem is more prominent in the ethanol plants operating in tropical countries like India. Any addition of chemicals or physical treatments could alter the course of subsequent microbiological reactions with the materials under storage.
MicroBite has developed a unique methodology for sterilizing the raw materials that would protect the fermentable sugar contents from undesired decomposition. It has developed an inline-sterilization device, which can be connected with the standard piping system used for unloading and transfer of raw materials. It dynamically sterilizes the throughput content while flowing, without requiring any additional batch sterilization set-time. It can also be applied for flash sterilization of liquid materials in pharma and F&B industries.
“We are currently working on optimizing the operational flow rates of the device, in order to serve our 5 KLPD bio-ethanol plant proposed to be commissioned in Telangana later this year,” says Praveen Kumar Gorakavi, Co-founder and CEO. “We are an R&D centric startup. We have filed 32 patents to date, and this inline-sterilization technology is one of the innovations adopted for better chemical kinetics at our plant,” he adds.
“With the help of this technology, MicroBite would be saving 3-5% of the raw material from getting degraded. This improves the profitability of our business,” says Butchibabu Gorantla, CFO of MicroBite.
MicroBite has recently closed its pre-series A round with an investment of $1.5Mn, which would be put to use in setting up a 5 KLPD plant and furthering its R&D for potential applications in other industrial segments.