Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Technology to Continuously Remove Alcohol from Fermenter

Request Number
Due Date
Mar 25, 2019
Program Manager


Sample testing, joint/contract development, licensing, supply of products



Select a potential partner: Within 6 months

Start to examine application to mass production process: After 1.5 years



The necessary budget has been secured.

(To be discussed depending on the details of proposal)


How to  Apply
Click on "Respond", complete the form to the extent possible, and submit along with other attachment files available. 
After creating your account for NineSights, your draft will be automatically saved and you can resume later from "Control Center". Please note you do not submit confidential information at this process.
This request for proposals in PDF format is available here.


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RFP was closed on
Apr 2019

RFP Title


Technology to Continuously Remove Alcohol from Fermenter
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing a multibillion-dollar food manufacturer, seeks a technology to continuously remove ethanol produced as a byproduct in fermentation liquid. While the client intends to apply the technology to the fermentation process, it also welcomes proposals based on a technology that was originally developed for other purposes and requires additional development for this project as well as those for a technology that has already been applied for fermentation process.

Key Success Criteria

Requirements for the Anticipated Technology

It is desirable that the technology meets all the following requirements. Since additional development is possible, proposals for a technology that may fulfill requirements (1) and (2) after additional development are welcome to participate at this point.

  1.  Alcohol can be continuously removed concurrently with reaction/fermentation process.
    • Ethanol need not be collected, therefore approaches to degrade ethanol are acceptable as well as separation.
  2.  Processing without changing the conditions of fermentation is possible. (See the reference value below.)
    • Temperature: 25–35˚C
    • pH: 5–7
    • Gauge pressure: 0–120 kPa
    • Osmotic pressure of the fermentation liquid: 500–800 mOsm
  3. The ethanol concentration can be maintained at 0.5% or lower.
    • Ethanol production speed: about 1%/hour
    • Ethanol concentration without any ethanol removal measures: 0.5–5.0%
  4. (In case a separation membrane or another material is used) Sterilization is possible, e.g. steam sterilization for 30 minutes at 120˚C, solvent sterilization, etc.
  5. The target product (most likely, low molecular weight organic compound, peptide, or protein) will not be lost. A process that the proposed technology will be applied to has not been specified and it will be determined depending on the separation capability of the proposed technology.
Items to be Submitted

Anticipated Approaches

Anticipated approaches include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Technology using pervaporation (PV)
  • Technology using forward osmosis (FO)
  • Adsorption separation
  • Process to take out some fermentation liquid, remove ethanol from the taken liquid, and put the liquid back in the fermenter
  • Technology to degrade or convert ethanol inside the fermenter (by bacteria, enzymes, chemical reactions, etc.)
  • Technology to remove ethanol in the fermenter by vaporizing it


The client, as a major food manufacturer, strives to improve productivity of food ingredients to supply a wide range of customers with quality foods at reasonable prices.
In the client’s fermentation process of food ingredient manufacturing, ethanol is produced as a byproduct. The client intends to improve the productivity of the process by continuously removing this ethanol, which inhibits growth of microorganisms, from fermentation liquid at the same time as fermentation.
In the meantime, numerous R&D activities to establish a technology to continuously separate alcohol have been widely conducted for various purposes, such as ABE fermentation, biofuel production, and brewing.
Therefore, the client has issued this open request to seek proposals from corporations and researchers around the globe to find a potential partner with whom the client can overcome the above challenge.


Proposal shall have clear points and should not include confidential information. Supplemental files may be submitted in addition to the proposal.


The client will evaluate all responses with the following criteria.

  • Overall scientific and technical merit
  • Approach to proof of concept or performance
  • Economic potential of concept
  • Realism of the proposed plan (action items, timeline, roles, deliverables, cost estimation)
  • Potential for proprietary position
  • Respondents’ capability and related experiences

After reviewing submitted proposals, the client possibly ask clarifying questions before selecting the most suitable candidates for collaboration. The client will select best candidates through evaluations. During the selection process, the client may execute NDA with selected respondents, seek further information disclosure, and discuss specific development targets or potential opportunities.
The client will execute necessary agreements with the selected respondents and move to the advanced development phase. Specifics of any collaboration will be determined through consultation with the concerned parties.

Preferred Collaboration Types
Area of Interest