Electrofuels Update: Patent Granted for CO2-to-Gasoline Process
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) In Maryland, the US Patent and Trademark Office issued patent number 9,217,161for a process to ferment biomass or gases directly to hydrocarbons like hexane and octane. The process belongs to the electrofuels family — technologies involving microorganisms that could use hydrogen or electricity to convert carbon dioxide to liquid fuels.
In this process, the fuels separate and rise to the surface of the fermentation broth, and are exactly the same as current components of gasoline. Unlike ethanol, which requires a distillation step, octane separates from the fermentation on its own, and can be added directly to gasoline without any modifications to engines or fuel distribution systems.
The isolated microorganisms consume hydrogen directly as well as carbon dioxide or biomass, and they excrete alkanes. The direct consumption of hydrogen or electricity by microorganisms that produce fuels is often referred to as “electrofuels”. READ MORE Abstract (Journal of Theoretical Biology)