The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University is launching a Renewable Biofuel Research Initiative. Science Foundation Arizona and energy company BP are funding the initiative meant to propel the development of a renewable source of biofuel.
The research effort focuses on using a specially optimized photosynthetic bacterium to produce biodiesel, a sustainable high-energy fuel that can be used in conventional engines.
The use of renewable, photosynthetic bacteria in the production of biofuel eliminates the need for costly and complex processing. In addition, the large-scale microbial cultivation, using only solar energy and an environmentally controlled production facility, can be set up on arid land.
The renewable technology holds significant promise, with an estimated high biomass-to-fuel yield. Furthermore, because the bacteria are dependent upon carbon dioxide for growth, a more environmentally friendly and potentially carbon neutral energy source is feasible. The small footprint needed for bacterial biofuel production allows the technology to be placed adjacent to power generating stations and the utilization of flue gas as a carbon source.
The Renewable Biofuel Research Initiative is part of a series of Strategic Research Group awards being offered by the Science Foundation Arizona.