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Project ID: 1866-AP
Available for licensing
Fatty-acid ethyl esters are biodiesel components. Currently there is a need to procure, transport, and/or store hazardous ethanol in a traditional industrial process. Also, harvesting requires extraction (e.g., solvent methods) and greatly increases the cost of separating these products from other components of the culture. Harvesting/killing the cells reduces the amount of the cell's limited available photosynthetic energy that would normally be used to produce cell materials such as DNA, proteins, and cell membranes. We solve these problems by converting the semi-batch process (grow cells, then harvest/kill) to a continuous process, which is more readily scaled to industrial size.
The engineered photosynthetic organisms generate waxy products in vivo from free fatty acids and alcohols, which are then combined as an ester (e.g., fatty-acid ethyl ester) in vivo. The product is then transported through the cell wall and excreted, where it can be removed from the culture medium.
The invention provides a continuous production system that does not require the organisms to be harvested (killed), and enhances production of fatty acid ethyl esters by excretion, which drives further production.
Currently, biofuels are capturing about $23 billion of the $1.3 trillion we spend each year to power our cars, trucks, airplanes, trains, and ships. That's just two percent of the market with an astounding 98% upside. Growing at the CAGR of more than 33% from the year 2007, world biodiesel production is likely to touch the mark of 12 billion liters by the end of 2010. The U.S. biofuel industry especially ethanol production is expected to lead the global production during the forecasted period of 2008-2017. (Research and Markets)
One U.S. patent application filed
Jerry Brand, Ph.D., Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Texas at Austin
Adam Schindler, MDC-Biology
Zhong-Kui Li, Ph.D., Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Texas at Austin
Norman M. Whitton, Sunrise Ridge Holdings, Inc.
Les Nichols, Licensing Specialist
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