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Biofuel Startup Announces Huge Yields From Engineered Organism
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A Massachusetts company, Joule Biotechnologies, has unveiled what it says is a technological breakthrough that uses genetically engineered organisms, sunlight, water, and concentrated carbon dioxide to produce up to 20,000 gallons of biofuel per acre. The much-watched startup claims that its secret organisms, coupled with photo bioreactors, not only directly produce an ethanol-like fuel but also secrete the fuel continuously. As a result, Joule officials say, its so-called “helioculture process” can produce up to 20,000 gallons of biofuel per acre — four to 10 times greater than algae-based biofuel experiments — and can do so at $50 per gallon, which is far cheaper than other algal biofuel processes. Independent observers said that while Joule’s technology looks promising, it still faces many hurdles as it attempts to take its breakthrough from the lab and mass-produce fuel. Joule says it will open a pilot plant in the Southwest early next year and commercially produce biofuels by the end of 2010. Joule’s project is one of several well-financed efforts to genetically engineer organisms to produce biofuels.

This piece originally appeared on Yale Environment 360
Copyright Joule Biotechnologies

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Comments

I think you meant $50 per barrel, not gallon.


Posted by: Bill the Galactic Hero on 28 Jul 09

Also, surely not $50/gal but rather $50/gal and the way the process is explained.....perhaps much less than $50/bbl


Posted by: Bob Brooks on 28 Jul 09

Given that biofuels (hydrocarbons) combust to form two greenhouse gases, CO2 and water, biofuel carbon footprint will continue to accelerate climate change. Why not move off combustion and onto alternatives, NOW?


Posted by: Oakleigh Solargroupies on 29 Jul 09

Hey Oakleigh Solargroupies... it's true that burning biofuels produces C02. However, producing biofuels removes C02 from the air, so the net result is no contribution to greenhouse gases.

As the algae grow, they pull CO2 out of the atmosphere. Just like any other plant.


Posted by: Torrey Hoffman on 29 Jul 09

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