A Gift of Technology
Published: 9:35 AM, 07/26/2012
The latest piece of equipment to be added to the fermentation science program at Appalachian State University arrived on the flatbed of the donor’s pickup truck.
Chuck Davis, chairman of TMD Technology Group of South Carolina, delivered a six-foot, flow-through bioreactor as part of a partnership that he and College of Arts and Sciences dean Anthony G. Calamai believe will create innovations in bioprocessing with outcomes limited only by imagination.
The bioreactor will offer students in the university’s new fermentation science degree program the opportunity to work with the latest innovative technology that will generate research, new knowledge and, according to Davis, new employees who understand the future of bioprocessing products.
“When you bring someone new in as an employee, it is easier if they have worked on our technology,” Davis said. “These young people at ASU will understand what we do and what we need to have done.”
The new fermentation technology from TMD shortens the natural bioprocessing cycle, offers a higher yield and thereby provides a much wider range of products. Davis said pharmaceutical-grade ethanol, food-grade ethanol and consumptive products, such as vinegar, complicated sugars and feed stock, are all potential new avenues with this reactor.
“When we look at this, the products that can be produced biologically are really limited only by the imagination,” Davis said.
In May, Davis and Calamai signed an agreement to work on a project related to fermentation technology and waste water purification using a patented technology owned by TMD. Using natural microorganisms, the specialized technology can remove all contaminates from a broad array of impurities and toxins generated in industrial waste water, as well as produce a range of bioproducts from waste sugars from an array of industries and products.
“This donation from Chuck Davis will allow faculty and students at Appalachian the opportunity to begin working with this developing technology,” said Dr. Seth Cohen, director of the fermentation sciences program. “Applications span areas of recycling waste streams and water, environmental rededication, production of biofuels and solvents, and food and beverage processing. The options for such technology are yet to be fully explored.”
“Fermentation science is a growing field with opportunities in the fermented foods and beverages industry, bio-processing fields such as fuels, and the pharmaceutical industry,” Calamai said. “Access to this bioreactor, plus the skills our students will gain in the interdisciplinary fermentation science degree program, will enhance their opportunity to pursue a career in the field, as well as their opportunities to enroll in advanced degree programs.”
TMD Technologies Group LLC is a biotechnology company located in Spartanburg, S.C. The biotechnology company provides cost-effective biological solutions to challenges facing the global community.
TMD focuses on a wide range of environmental projects ranging from the alleviation of small-scale wastewater problems and the remediation of large-scale hazardous waste sites to industrial-scale wastewater and contaminated soil treatment. Additionally, through its Waste Energy LLC subsidiary, TMD has developed, and is deploying, patented processes to produce refined fuel-grade ethanol, industrial-quality butanol and other high-market-value products, utilizing industrial waste sugars, primarily in liquid form, as feedstock.