Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Biofuel


The start-up biofuels company LS9, of San Carlos, CA, is using synthetic biology to engineer bacteria that can make hydrocarbons for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

Their goal is to design microbes that produce and excrete hydrocarbons.

The LS9 Renewable Petroleum biofuel will be clean burning, carbon neutral and capable of fulfilling our long and short term energy needs. Derived from diverse agricultural feedstocks, Renewable Petroleum liquid fuels will be compatible with current distribution and consumer infrastructure.

The company has $5 million in funding from Khosla Ventures, the venture capital firm of Vinod Khosla founder of Sun Microsystems. Khosla is known for his passionate evangelizing of biofuels. LS9 CEO Noubar Afeyan cautions that no one can tell the extent to which any biofuel will displace fossil fuels. “That is a subject of great debate and great prognostication,” he says. “The opportunity is so large that I don’t have to believe in much more than a few percentage points of market penetration for it to be worth our investment.”

The fuel production process is much simpler and requires less energy than ethanol. Where ethanol needs to be distilled, Renewable Petroleum floats to the surface of the reaction vat.

Via: Technology Review

Via: Sustainable Design Update