Rare Microbe To Help Make A Better Biofuel

Rare Bug To Help Make A Better Biofuel

Zymetis is testing genetically modified bacteria that efficiently convert biomass into sugar.  

A tiny microbe found in the Chesapeake Bay is the focus of intense study for a biotech startup in College Park, MD. Zymetis has genetically modified a rare, cellulose-eating bacterium to break down and convert cellulose into sugars necessary to make ethanol, and it recently completed its first commercial-scale trial. Earlier this year, the company ran the modified microbe through a series of tests in large fermenters and found that it was able to convert one ton of cellulosic plant fiber into sugar in 72 hours. The trial, researchers say, illustrates the organism’s potential in helping to produce ethanol cheaply and efficiently at industrial scales. Zymetis is now raising the first round of venture capital to bring the technology to commercial applications.

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E-Fuel100 MicroFueler: A Personal Refinery

E-Fuel100 MicroFueler:  A Personal Refinery

E-Fuel100 MicroFueler 

Meet the EFuel100 MicroFueler, which parent company E-Fuel says is the “world’s first home ethanol product.” It’s a personal refinery system that hooks up to a water source, a power source, and a waste water disposal outlet–“just like a washing machine,” as Floyd Butterfield, E-Fuel’s vice president of biofuels and technology, described to reporters in a press conference Thursday in New York.

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Passenger Jet Powered By Jet Fuel Made From A Weed

Passenger Jet Powered By Jet Fuel Made From A Weed 

 Technicians at UOP examine equipment used to convert jatropha oil into jet fuel.

On December 3, a Boeing 747 belonging to Air New Zealand is scheduled to take off from Auckland, New Zealand, powered in part by a new type of jet fuel made from a weed. A mixture of equal parts biofuel and conventional fuel will run one of the plane’s engines. The biofuel, which could help reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, was developed by UOP, a major supplier of technology for petroleum refining.

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