Alternative Fuels

Researchers engineer E. coli to make fuels

Posted on December 15, 2011

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have made new strides toward the development of advanced biofuels that can replace gasoline, diesel and jet fuels with a domestically-produced “green” alternative.

Researchers have engineered the first strains of Escherichia coli bacteria, commonly referred to as E. coli, that can digest switchgrass biomass and synthesize its sugars into all three of those transportation fuels. Moreover, the microbes are reportedly able to do this without any help from enzyme additives.

“This work shows that we can reduce one of the most expensive parts of the biofuel production process, the addition of enzymes to depolymerize cellulose and hemicellulose into fermentable sugars,” said Jay Keasling, CEO of JBEI and leader of this research. “This will enable us to reduce fuel production costs by consolidating two steps — depolymerizing cellulose and hemicellulose into sugars, and fermenting the sugars into fuels — into a single step or one pot operation.”

The JBEI researchers attribute the success of this work to the “unparalleled genetic and metabolic tractability” of E. coli. However, the researchers believe that the techniques used in this demonstration should also be adapted to other microbes, which officials say would open the door to the production of advanced biofuels from lignocellulosic feedstocks that are ecologically and economically appropriate to grow and harvest anywhere in the world.

For more information on the researchers’ work with E. coli, click here.

Related Topics: alternative fuels

Comments ( 0 )
More Stories

Fleet Management App

Fleetio has introduced Fleetio Go, an app that allows fleet operations teams to instantly update information and access fleet data from any location.

The National Association for Pupil Transportation has developed an online platform designed to help pupil transportation providers track, analyze, and compare KPI data with peers who are similar to them and collaborate on solutions.

New NAPT Technology to Help Optimize KPI Data

The business intelligence platform will display actionable data in a user friendly dashboard and allow transportation directors to share it and collaborate on solutions. It will be unveiled at the association’s annual Summit in November.

Alliance AutoGas' Autogas Evacuation Pump is equipped to evacuate a tank filled with 44 gallons of propane in 1.5 hours, according to the supplier.

Propane Evacuation Pump Unveiled

Alliance AutoGas unveils the Autogas Evacuation Pump, which is equipped to evacuate a tank filled with 44 gallons of propane in 1.5 hours.

Blue Springs (Mo.) R-IV School District has purchased 19 of Thomas Built Buses' Saf-T-Liner C2 CNG buses. The school bus manufacturer officially launched the bus model in May.

Missouri District Buys 19 CNG School Buses

Blue Springs (Mo.) R-IV School District purchases the Saf-T-Liner C2 CNG buses from Thomas Built Buses. It is the second U.S. school district to introduce these buses into its fleet.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!