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MIT Researchers Develop Biodiesel from Carbon Dioxide
Friday, 2016/06/03 | 08:15:22

A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reports engineered microorganisms that can generate sustainable biofuel from carbon dioxide emissions. The technology being developed by Greg Stephanopoulos's group turns industrial waste gases, like carbon dioxide, into fuel.


The process starts with mixtures of carbon dioxide and either carbon monoxide or hydrogen bubbled into a two-step reactor, in which Moorella thermoacetica, bacteria found in ponds and undersea vents, consumes carbon dioxide and hydrogen for energy, forming acetic acid as a waste product. The acetic acid is then pumped into the second stage, where the modified yeast Yarrowia lipolytica, consumes the vinegar to produce lipids. These lipids can easily be converted into biodiesel.


This new process has advantages over other biofuel production methods in the availability and cost of their feedstock, or chemical ingredients. The team now plans a 20,000 L reactor, capable of producing 30-40 gallons of biodiesel per day.




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