Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Converting CO2 directly to Diesel without biomass extraction

Exciting developments lately with engineered microbes that with sunlight convert CO2 directly to diesel fuel. This greatly simplifies and reduces the actual energy needed to convert algae biomass into biodiesel. Here's a recap of the article from: Gas 2.0

Inside specially designed reactors, Joule’s engineered microbes thrive off of sunlight and CO2. In return, depending on the type of organism, they can produce straight ethanol, diesel or a number of other types of hydrocarbons.

Although the process sounds similar to algae-produced biofuels, the Joule process is incredibly (and beneficially) different for several reasons:

Doesn’t produce biomass
No agricultural feedstock needed
Can be conducted on non-arable land
Doesn’t need fresh water
Produces fuel directly without the need for extraction or refinement
Apparently Joule has discovered some unique genes inside these microbes that produce the enzymes responsible for directly making the molecules found in diesel. From there, engineering organisms to make other fuels was a simple step. At this point, production of the fuels has only been done in the lab, but Joule has plans to open a pilot plant in early 2011.

More info at

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