• [ October 23, 2012 ]
  • Iowa Energy Center grant focuses on biochemical research

Researchers at Iowa State University are focused on developing bio-oil tolerant microbes, which may aid in biofuel production.

As cornstalk and sawdust biomass is rapidly heated in an anaerobic environment, a thermochemical process called pyrolysis, a bio-oil is produced. E. coli and C. reinhardtii microbes are capable of breaking the bio-oil into sugar and lipid products, which can be used in biofuels production. The issue with this biochemical process is microbes cannot tolerate the harsh conditions of bio-oil.

Through directed evolution, an ISU research team led by Laura Jarboe is working to develop bio-oil tolerant microbes. To do this, microbes are grown in increasing concentrations of bio-oil, which allows only the tolerant microbes to reproduce. Ideally, the adapted microbes will generate a new breed, suited for use in the biofuels industry.

With the hybrid process, combining thermochemical and biochemical paths, the research can help create a renewable fuel that is fast, cheap, and doesn’t depend on food crops as a source of biomass.

The research is supported by a three-year $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and a three-year $315,020 grant from the Iowa Energy Center.

Source: Iowa State engineers convert bio-oil into advanced biofuel

Categories: ,


Comments are closed.

All comments are subject to moderation, and will be held for approval by our moderators. Comments that do not relate directly to the blog entry’s contents, are commercial in nature, contain objectionable or inappropriate material, will not be approved. For general inquiries not related to this blog, please contact us.