Development of Rhodobacter as a Versatile Microbial Platform for Fuels Production
A microorganism that usually scavenges its energy from residual light and organic waste in the mud at the bottom of a pond will be ‘rewired’ to use electricity (or electrons from electrically-generated hydrogen) and to consume carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce gasoline.
ARPA-E seeks to generate a smart energy infrastructure that will provide energy while minimizing the environmental impact of using fossil fuels. For the next several decades, liquid fuels will be required for transportation, and coal will play a dominant role for electrical power generation. This proposal seeks to take advantage of efforts to capture CO2 and utilize it for fuel production (rather than seek options of underground sequestration). To accomplish this, the fuel production process can be interfaced to developing technologies of capturing solar energy, including photo-voltaics (P.V.) and microbial fuel cells (MFC) which can produce electricity either directly or indirectly from solar radiation. By feeding either hydrogen (produced from splitting water with electricity) or electrons directly to a microorganism that is genetically engineered to produce hydrocarbons, this project will provide a means of converting diffuse solar energy into energy dense transportation fuels. The implementation of this new infrastructure will create jobs and protect existing jobs by providing a domestic source of transportation fuels that will synergistically evolve with improved technologiesfor electrical power generation.a smart energy infrastructure that will provide energy while minimizing the environmental impact of using fossil fuels.
This section contains links to updates and progress related to both genetic engineering and bioprocess engineering objectives. Since the nature of this work is to facilitate commercialization, many of the details are not made public at this time.
Meeting held in Washington DC February 27-29, 2012. This contains the presented poster, handouts on various technology developments, and videos of the demonstrations presented at the summit technology showcase.