Matrix Genetics Pursues the Algae Fuel Dream in the Lab, Not With Big Steel Tanks, Giant Ponds
by Luke Timmerman (Xconomy Seattle) …McCormick, one of the featured speakers at next week’s Xconomy event on alternative fuels, has led this quiet effort for the past three years inside Seattle-based Targeted Growth. While Targeted Growth grabbed headlines with hybrid camelina seeds that it turned into jet fuel for Boeing planes, McCormick and her team of a dozen scientists plowed away behind the scenes at something they believe has much bigger long-term potential.
The work has been focused on modifying one of the relatively simple genetic strains of algae, known as cyanobacteria, to produce more oils. Now that some critical early tests have been passed, McCormick says this effort is spinning off into a company of its own, which she believes can compete with a couple of the big names in the business of modifying algae strains for fuel. That includes Craig Venter’s Synthetic Genomics(which has a partnership with Exxon Mobil) and Cambridge, MA-based Joule Unlimited.
These are still the earliest of days for Matrix as a company. The company is made up of a team of 12 scientists, eight of them with Ph.Ds, housed inside the Institute for Systems Biology. READ MORE and MORE (Algal Biomass Organization)