A biotechnology company based in Boulder, Colorado has discovered a way to engineer E. coli to convert sugar into acrylic acid - a major component in paints, diapers and adhesives - in place of petroleum. This new process produces 75 percent less CO2 emissions than the petroleum-based process.
OPX Biotechnologies is a start-up company that is engineering bacteria to make industrial chemicals and renewable fuels. This new E. coli-based process they've developed is actually cheaper than the petroleum-based process and if just one commercial company adopted the bacteria-based process, 500,000 fewer barrels of petroleum would be consumed per year.
The company has been testing the technology at a pilot plant, but plans to have a commercial plant built by 2014 that could produce 100 million pounds of acrylic. The company has received a $6 million grant from the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy as well as over $22 million in venture capital.
The company is also working on a process that converts CO2 and hydrogen into diesel fuel.
via MIT Tech Review
written by Asaf Shalgi, September 22, 2010
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