27 Jul 2009:
Biofuel Startup Announces
Huge Yields from Engineered Organism
A Massachusetts company, Joule Biotechnologies, has unveiled what it says is a technological breakthrough that uses genetically engineered organisms, sunlight, water, and concentrated carbon dioxide to produce up to 20,000 gallons of biofuel per acre.
The much-watched startup claims that its
secret organisms, coupled with photo bioreactors, not only directly produce an ethanol-like fuel but also secrete the fuel continuously. As a result, Joule officials say, its so-called “helioculture process” can produce up to 20,000 gallons of biofuel per acre — four to 10 times greater than algae-based biofuel experiments — and can do so at $50 per gallon, which is far cheaper than other algal biofuel processes. Independent observers said that while Joule’s technology looks promising, it still faces many hurdles as it attempts to take its breakthrough from the lab and mass-produce fuel. Joule says it will open a pilot plant in the Southwest early next year and commercially produce biofuels by the end of 2010. Joule’s project is one of several well-financed efforts to genetically engineer organisms
to produce biofuels.
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Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.
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An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
Ugandan scientists monitor the impact of climate change on one of Africa’s most diverse forests and its extraordinary wildlife. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.