Transformative Technologies 2010 nominees: Direct microbial conversion to fuel

June 7, 2010 |

Nominations: Direct microbial conversion to fuel
To vote in Transformative Technologies 2010, visit here.

Amyris applies synthetic biology to alter the metabolic pathways of microorganisms to engineer “living factories” that transform sugar into any one of 50,000 different molecules used in a wide variety of energy, pharmaceutical and chemical applications. Amyris has proven this technology through the delivery of artemisinin, a low cost anti-malarial drug. The company expects to produce drop-in, renewable diesel, renewable jet fuel, and renewable chemicals for consumer products and industrial applications currently dependent on petrochemicals.

Joule Unlimited
Joule’s Helioculture platform converts sunlight and waste CO2 directly into liquid fuels with no requirement for costly biomass intermediates, processing or use of precious natural resources. This platform is projected to yield renewable diesel fuel at up to 15,000 gal/acre/year and costs as low as $30 bble.

LS9 announced that its UltraClean Diesel was officially registered by the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and can now be  sold commercially in the United States. The drop-in replacement for conventional diesel is free of benzene, a common carcinogen, and contains only trace amounts or sulfur. LS9 genetically engineers the microorganisms to precisely produce fuels with improved properties such as cetane, volatility, oxidative stability and cold-flow, and provides an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when compared to conventional petroleum diesel.

Naturally Scientific
Naturally Scientific unveiled its patented solution which converts waste CO2, water & light in a photosynthetic reaction to grow palisade layer plant cell culture that produces low-cost sugar – glucose and sucrose. Naturally Scientifics’ technology absorbs and fixes more than 90% and up to 100% of the CO2 passed through it. Plant cell cultures are used to convert CO2 into natural sugars and vegetable oils, producing these scarce and valuable commodities in a safe and sustainable way that results in no indirect land use change or deforestation. Naturally Scientific has constructed a demonstration plant in Nottingham, UK which will be fully operational by the end of May 2010, producing both sugars and oils.

NCSU/Georgia project

Super bug to produce fuel from hydrogen and CO2. A project at North Carolina State University and the University of Georgia to engineer a microorganism that produces butanol or ethanol. According to EcoFriend, “The bug would skip the entire photosynthetic sugar-making step and would create liquid fuels directly from hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Extremophiles will be able to live without water and will be highly resistant to radiation, which makes them ideal for biofuel production.”

University of Cincinnati project
Biofuel production using artificial photosynthesis. A project at the University of Cincinnati to create a photosynthetic material from plant, bacterial, frog and fungal enzymes.

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