How Joule May Turn Biofuels Upside Down
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) …But some of the most interesting work being done today at Joule Unlimited is of the “Don’t Bee” type: progressively knocking out characteristics and pathways that create limitations on biofuels production: “Don’t BEE a naughty e.coli and make too much biomass when you could be making pyruvate.”
…What we know is that it is a system, not an organism – a small-scale unit which can be replicated almost infinitely, which provides a medium for an engineered microbe to fix CO2, and draw in brackish water and other nutrients, use those ingredients to overproduce a target fuel or chemical, sweat the fuel – which is then separated from the growth media, and delivered through a channel where it is collected for distribution.
The Joule system, to date, looks remarkably like a solar panel – which in many ways, it is, because the organism is photosynthetic – except that it is a bio-solar system.
…“In additional embodiments, the engineered cell provided by the invention comprises an the cell is selected from eukaryotic plants, algae, cyanobacteria, green-sulfur bacteria, green non-sulfur bacteria, purple sulfur bacteria, purple non-sulfur bacteria, extremophiles, yeast, fungi, engineered organisms thereof, and synthetic organisms.
…In the Joule universe, you milk the organism, rather than slaughter it.
… Joule has reported making a wide variety of sugars, alcohols, fatty acids and hydrocarbons, with carbon chains from 2 to 34 carbon atoms in length.
…It’s the latest trend in biofuels – moving away from the integrated biorefinery, that fractions a given biomass into a host of useful mass-produced products, but always limited by the properties of that given biomass. Moving towards the integrated bioengine, that has relatively unlimited abilities to tailor and target – moving organisms into its fermenters or biosolar panels, like replacing the punchcards that drove Jacquard looms. READ MORE