Cemvita Factory announced multiple developments with its Gold Hydrogen business. Cemvita defines Gold Hydrogen as the biological production of hydrogen in the subsurface through the consumption of trapped or abandoned resources. Gold Hydrogen is a novel source of carbon neutral hydrogen produced from depleted oil reservoirs that are ready for... Read more →


Researchers in Europe led by a team from ETH Zurich have designed a fuel production system that uses water, CO2, and sunlight to produce aviation fuel. The team implemented the system at pilot-scale in the field to demonstrate the technical feasibility of the entire sun-to-liquid fuel process chain, from H2O... Read more →


Using naturally occurring and engineered proteins and bacteria, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists and collaborators will separate and purify rare-earth elements for use in the defense sector. Under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Environmental Microbes as a BioEngineering Resource (EMBER) program (earlier post), the team was awarded... Read more →


Genomatica and Asahi Kasei partner on renewably-sourced nylon 6,6 for automotive

Sustainable materials leader Genomatica and Japan-based diversified global manufacturer Asahi Kasei announced a strategic partnership to commercialize renewably-sourced nylon 6,61 made from Genomatica’s bio-based HMD (hexamethylenediamine, also abbreviated as HMDA) building block. Asahi Kasei looks to this partnership to support its goal to be first-to-market with a more sustainable nylon... Read more →


LanzaTech, a company that has developed gas fermentation technology to transform waste carbon into materials such as sustainable fuels, fabrics, packaging and other products that people use in their daily lives, will go public through a merger with AMCI Acquisition Corp. II (AMCI), a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).... Read more →


Twelve and LanzaTech successfully convert CO2 to ethanol

Carbon transformation company Twelve and biotechnology company LanzaTech have transformed CO2 emissions into ethanol as a part of an ongoing research and development partnership. Ethanol is typically produced using biological processes or as a petrochemical, through ethylene hydration, using fossil fuels. It’s also often produced using corn and other crop... Read more →


A team of scientists from LanzaTech, Northwestern University and the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have engineered a microbe to convert molecules of industrial waste gases, such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, into acetone and isopropanol (IPA). These widely used chemicals serve as the basis of thousands... Read more →


Princeton researchers develop genetically encoded biosensor to sort yeast strains for production of advanced biofuels

Researchers in Professor José Avalos’s lab at Princeton University have developed a new technique to isolate high-producing strains of yeast, identify mutant enzymes with enhanced activity, and construct biosynthetic pathways for production of isobutanol and isopentanol. The tool makes the genetic selection process thousands of times faster and can supercharge... Read more →


A team of researchers from the US NSF Center for Sustainable Polymers based at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities has demonstrated the use of a dual cellular–heterogeneous catalytic strategy to produce olefins from glucose. Wang et al. These renewable liquids could serve as a more sustainable replacement for today’s... Read more →


Viridos executes agreement with ExxonMobil to help scale algae biofuels toward commercial levels

Viridos Inc., earlier known as Synthetic Genomics, has signed a joint development agreement with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (EMRE) with the intent to bring Viridos’ low-carbon intensity algae biofuels toward commercial levels. In 2009, EMRE launched what it calls a “significant” new program to research and develop advanced biofuels... Read more →


WUSTL researchers demonstrate solar-panel-powered microbial electrosynthesis to produce n-butanol from light, CO2 and power

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have discovered a new way to train microbes to make n-butanol. A team of biologists and engineers modified Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1 (TIE-1) so that it can produce a biofuel using only three renewable and naturally abundant source ingredients: carbon dioxide, solar panel-generated electricity... Read more →


Novozymes launches new high-performance yeast for ethanol industry: Innova Quantum

Novozymes is introducing Innova Quantum, a new addition to its Innova yeast platform. The robust new yeast enables ethanol plants with longer fermentation times of more than 60 hours to realize higher ethanol yields and processing efficiencies than ever before. Most importantly, plants can achieve this industry-leading yield without trade-offs... Read more →


New research led by scientists at Penn State and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) demonstrates how a protein isolated from bacteria can provide a more environmentally friendly way to extract rare earth elements from unconventional sources such as mine tailings and e-waste and to separate them from other metals... Read more →


Engineered E. coli could make carbohydrates, renewable fuel, from CO2

Researchers from Newcastle University in the UK have engineered Escherichia coli bacteria to capture carbon dioxide using hydrogen gas to convert it into formic acid. The research, accepted for publication in Applied and Environmental Microbiology raises the possibility of converting atmospheric CO2 to commodity chemicals. Escherichia coli is gram-negative bacterium... Read more →


A new Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program— Environmental Microbes as a BioEngineering Resource (EMBER) (HR001121S0035)—seeks to develop novel, bio-based technologies to overcome key challenges facing domestic supply of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) critical to the US and Department of Defense (DoD). Although the US has domestic REE resources,... Read more →


Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have discovered a microbial enzyme that degrades tough-to-break bonds in lignin, a waste product of biorefineries. When inserted into a bioengineered bacterium, the enzyme helps efficiently convert lignin compounds into a common component of plastics—muconic acid—opening a pathway to transform waste into a... Read more →


MIT team engineers yeast to be more tolerant to toxic byproducts, boosting biofuels production; “tolerance module”

In the US, ethanol production is limited in large part by its reliance on corn, which isn’t grown in large enough quantities to make up a significant portion of US fuel needs. To try to expand biofuels’ potential impact, a team of MIT engineers has now found a way to... Read more →


Researchers in Mexico have used a genetically engineered Escherichia coli to scale-up the co-production of hydrogen (H2) and ethanol (EtOH) using hemicellulosic hydrolysates from wheat straw pretreated (WSP) as substrate from a 0.01 to 10 L process. A paper on their work is published in the journal Fuel. Co-production of... Read more →


Researchers from the University of Houston, with colleagues at the University of São Paolo in Brazil, have demonstrated how copper-resistant bacterium from a copper mine in Brazil convert CuSO4 (copper sulfate) ions into zero-valent Cu (metallic copper). An open-access paper on their research is published in Science Advances. Gracioso et... Read more →


Bridgestone Corporation announced results of its four-year collaboration with genomic big data solutions company NRGene to advance the commercialization of guayule, an alternative to natural rubber, as part of the effort to diversify its sources of raw materials. The combined effort focused on analyzing DNA to allow more efficient use... Read more →


Understanding bacteria’s metabolism could improve biofuel production

Researchers at UC Riverside and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have used mathematical and computational modeling, artificial intelligence algorithms and experiments showing that bacteria have failsafe mechanisms preventing them from producing too many metabolic intermediates. Metabolic intermediates are the chemicals that couple each reaction to one another in metabolism. Key to... Read more →


International bioenergy research team sequences miscanthus genome

An international research team has sequenced the full genome of an ornamental variety of miscanthus, a wild perennial grass emerging as a prime candidate for sustainable bioenergy crops. The genome project—led by scientists at the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI), a Department of Energy (DOE) bioenergy research... Read more →


In a review paper published in the journal ChemSusChem, researchers from Australia’s CSIRO conclude that the combination of synthetic biology and materials chemistry will provide many viable options to allow the use of nitrogenase for energy applications, such as the production of green ammonia for use as a preferred liquid... Read more →


Novozymes launches Innova Fit yeast technology for ethanol producers

Novozymes has launched its next yeast technology, Innova Fit. Fit is the most advanced non-GM yeast in the market, eliminating production constraints caused by conventional and basic yeasts, according to the company. Conventional yeasts often cause plants to struggle with the rigors of today’s fermentation challenges and production demands –... Read more →


DOE to award ~$96M for bioenergy research and development

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to more than $96 million in funding (DE-FOA-0002203) for bioenergy research and development. Topic areas within this FOA will advance DOE’s Bioenergy Technology Office’s objectives of reducing the price of drop-in biofuels; lowering the cost of biopower; and enabling high-value products from... Read more →


US DOE to award $75M for bioenergy crops research

The US Department of Energy (DOE) plans to provide up to $75 million over five years for research to develop sustainable bioenergy crops tolerant of environmental stress and resilient to changing environmental conditions. It’s critical for crops grown for bioenergy and bioproducts to be able to survive and thrive under... Read more →


LanzaTech China JV reports 9M gallons of ethanol made from steel flue gas; new JV for PET

Beijing Shougang LanzaTech New Energy Science & Technology Co., Ltd. a joint venture between carbon recycler, LanzaTech, Shougang Group, a leading Chinese iron and steel producer, and its New Zealand partner, TangMing, have successfully produced more than 9 million gallons of ethanol from recycled steel mill emissions in their first... Read more →


A team from the University of Cordoba in Spain and the University of Tehran in Iran has been searching for ways to increase hydrogen production by using microorganisms, specifically microalgae and bacteria. Researchers Neda Fakhimi, Alexandra Dubini and David González Ballester report being able to increase hydrogen production by combining... Read more →


Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have demonstrated a method to insert genes into a variety of microorganisms that previously would not accept foreign DNA, with the goal of creating custom microbes to break down plants for bioenergy. A new method uses E. coli... Read more →


Crude oil and gas naturally escape from the seabed in many places known as seeps. There, these hydrocarbons move up from source rocks through fractures and sediments towards the surface, where they leak out of the ground and sustain a diversity of densely populated habitats in the dark ocean. A... Read more →


LG Chem to host 2nd Global Innovation Contest; petrochemicals, batteries, advanced materials, biotechnologies

LG Chem will host the 2nd Global Innovation Contest (GIC) for leading universities and research institutions worldwide. The contest is open for entry until 30 September in 4 categories: Petrochemicals, Batteries, Advanced Materials, and Bio technologies. Being the first of its kind in Korean chemical industry, Global Innovation Contest invites... Read more →


RUB, Oxford team discovers how hydrogenases are activated during biosynthesis

Hydrogenases are of biotechnological interest as they are able to efficiently produce hydrogen. Now, a team from Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) and the University of Oxford has discovered how hydrogen-producing enzymes (hydrogenases) are activated during their biosynthesis. They showed how the cofactor—part of the active center and also the heart of... Read more →


University of Colorado Boulder researchers have developed nanobio-hybrid organisms capable of using airborne carbon dioxide and nitrogen to produce a variety of plastics and fuels, a promising first step toward low-cost carbon sequestration and eco-friendly manufacturing for chemicals. A paper on their work appears in the Journal of the American... Read more →


Cornell team suggests engineered bacteria could address current limitations of energy storage technologies

Raising the penetration of renewable —an intermittent—sources of energy into the grid will require large scale electrical energy storage and retrieval. However, at present, no existing technology provides such storage and retrieval at a low financial and environmental cost. A team at Cornell University is now suggesting that engineered electroactive... Read more →


Methanotrophic bacteria remove methane from the environment and convert it into methanol. An interdisciplinary team at Northwestern University has found that the enzyme responsible for the methane-methanol conversion catalyzes this reaction at a site that contains just one copper ion. The study is published in the journal Science. Bacteria that... Read more →


NTU scientists discover sustainable way to increase seed oil yield in crops up to 15%

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) scientists have developed a sustainable way to demonstrate a new genetic modification that can increase the yield of natural oil in seeds by up to 15% in laboratory conditions. The new method can be applied to crops such as canola, soybean and sunflower, which... Read more →


Researchers find two strains of diesel-eating bacteria in Antarctica

Researchers have identified two strains of diesel-degrading bacteria in pristine Antarctic soil and their optimal working conditions. This insight could potentially inform bioremediation efforts in the region. An open-access paper on the work appears in the journal Microbial Cell Factories. Pollution from petroleum hydrocarbons such as diesel, which is widely... Read more →


NCSU researchers create shortcut to terpene biosynthesis in E. coli

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed an artificial enzymatic pathway for synthesizing isoprenoids, or terpenes, in E. coli. This shorter, more efficient, cost-effective and customizable pathway transforms the bacterium into a factory that can produce terpenes for use in everything from cancer drugs to biofuels. A paper on... Read more →


JBEI researchers produce high density jet fuel precursors from bacteria

Researchers with the US Department of Energy (DOE) Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), with colleagues in China, have produced the tricyclic sesquiterpenes epi-isozizaene, pentalenene and α-isocomene—promising jet fuel feedstocks—at high production titers, providing novel, sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based jet fuels. An open-access paper on their work appears in Biotechnology for Biofuels.... Read more →


Auburn University leads $2M DOE Co-Optima project to evaluate renewable butyl acetate as diesel fuel additive

Auburn University researchers are leading a $2-million US Department of Energy Co-Optima project (earlier post) that will evaluate renewable butyl acetate (BA) as a bio-based fuel additive that can be blended with diesel fuel to reduce soot and greenhouse gas emissions and yield cleaner engine operation in cold-weather conditions. Joining... Read more →


Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have identified two main challenges for renewable biofuel production from cheap sources: lowering the cost of developing microbial cell factories; and establishing more efficient methods for hydrolysis of biomass to sugars for fermentation. In a paper published in the journal Nature Energy, the... Read more →


Tokyo Tech researchers ID enzyme that could boost algal biofuel production

Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology have identified an enzyme belonging to the glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) family as a promising target for increasing biofuel production from the red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae. Algae can store up large amounts of triacylglycerols (TAGs) under adverse conditions such as nitrogen deprivation. Understanding precisely how... Read more →


Researchers engineer yeast to tolerate ionic liquid used in biomass pretreatment for biofuel production

Ionic liquids—neutral salts that attain a liquid state at temperatures mostly below 100 ˚C—are very effective in the pretreatment of biomass to make its cellulose highly accessible to cellulase enzymes that hydrolyze it into glucose for fermentation by microbes. However, ionic liquids are toxic to biofuel-producing microbes such as the... Read more →


Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory, with colleagues at NREL and the University of Georgia report that a freshwater production strain of microalgae, Auxenochlorella protothecoides UTEX 25, is capable of directly degrading and utilizing non-food plant substrates, such as switchgrass, for cell growth. In addition, the use of plant substrates... Read more →


UNL-led team greatly increases hydrogen production by T maritima; breaking the theoretical limit

Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), with colleagues from North Carolina State University and the University of Connecticut, have engineered the hyperthermophilic anaerobe Thermotoga maritima to produce 46% more hydrogen per cell than the wild type. The team’s highest reported yield—5.7 units of hydrogen for every unit of glucose... Read more →


Global Bioenergies successfully moves its C3 process to demo scale; isopropanol and acetone from renewable resources

Global Bioenergies has reached a new milestone in scaling up its C3 process converting renewable resources into isopropanol and acetone. (Earlier post.) These two biobased compounds target large markets in the cosmetics and solvent segments. They can also be converted into polypropylene, a key component in the plastics industry, with... Read more →


New genetic engineering technique improves enzyme’s ability to breakdown biomass

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the University of Georgia have developed a new genetic engineering technique significantly to improve an enzyme’s ability to break down biomass. A paper on the work is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences... Read more →


DOE awarding $40M to 31 projects to advance use of microbes in production of biofuels and bioproducts

The US Department of Energy will award $40 million in funding for 31 projects to advance research in the development of microbes as practical platforms for the production of biofuels and other bioproducts from renewable resources. Over the past decade, DOE-supported scientists have identified and modified a wide range of... Read more →


US researchers demo separation-free, IL-based process for conversion of biomass to advanced biofuel

Researchers from three US national labs (Berkeley, Pacific Northwest and Sandia) has demonstrated a separation-free, ionic-liquid (IL)-based process to convert biomass to an advanced biofuel (the sesquiterpene bisabolene). The process, described in an open access paper in the RSC journal Green Chemistry, is also the first to demonstrate full consumption... Read more →


Key enzyme for production of second-generation ethanol discovered in Brazilian Amazon

Researchers have discovered a novel enzyme (a β-glucosidase) in microorganisms living in the Brazilian Amazon that could boost efficiency of the sugarcane bagasse saccharification process, which accounts for up to 50% of the global costs of cellulosic ethanol production. The team isolated, characterized and reproduced the enzyme, proving it to... Read more →