• 1 min Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 1 hour Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 3 hours Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 20 hours Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 21 hours Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 22 hours China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 22 hours UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 23 hours Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 24 hours VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 1 day Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 1 day Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 1 day OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 2 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 2 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 2 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 2 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 2 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 2 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
  • 5 days Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress
  • 5 days Texas Shutters More Coal-Fired Plants
  • 5 days Oil Trading Firm Expects Unprecedented U.S. Crude Exports
  • 5 days UK’s FCA Met With Aramco Prior To Proposing Listing Rule Change
  • 5 days Chevron Quits Australian Deepwater Oil Exploration
  • 5 days Europe Braces For End Of Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 6 days Renewable Energy Startup Powering Native American Protest Camp
  • 6 days Husky Energy Set To Restart Pipeline
  • 6 days Russia, Morocco Sign String Of Energy And Military Deals
  • 6 days Norway Looks To Cut Some Of Its Generous Tax Breaks For EVs
  • 6 days China Set To Continue Crude Oil Buying Spree, IEA Says
  • 6 days India Needs Help To Boost Oil Production
  • 6 days Shell Buys One Of Europe’s Largest EV Charging Networks
  • 6 days Oil Throwback: BP Is Bringing Back The Amoco Brand
  • 6 days Libyan Oil Output Covers 25% Of 2017 Budget Needs
  • 6 days District Judge Rules Dakota Access Can Continue Operating
  • 7 days Surprise Oil Inventory Build Shocks Markets
  • 7 days France’s Biggest Listed Bank To Stop Funding Shale, Oil Sands Projects
  • 7 days Syria’s Kurds Aim To Control Oil-Rich Areas
  • 7 days Chinese Teapots Create $5B JV To Compete With State Firms
  • 7 days Oil M&A Deals Set To Rise
  • 7 days South Sudan Tightens Oil Industry Security
Alt Text

Is Cactus Gas The Future Of Biofuel?

A Mexican green energy startup,…

Alt Text

New Tech Could Turn Seaweed Into Biofuel

Scientists discovered an unlikely abundant…

Alt Text

“Grassoline” The Jet Fuel Of The Future?

Researchers have developed a process…

Darrell Delamaide

Darrell Delamaide

Darrell Delamaide is a writer, editor and journalist with more than 30 years' experience. He is the author of three books and has written for…

More Info

How A Yeast Cell Could Transform The Biofuel Industry

How A Yeast Cell Could Transform The Biofuel Industry

Researchers at the University of Texas have engineered a yeast cell that transforms sugar into biofuel to improve its yield and make it more competitive with conventional fuels.

Building on its previous research developing the special strain of yeast, the team under Associate Professor Hal Alper combined metabolic engineering and directed evolution to identify and cultivate high-performing cells that produce 1.6 times as many fuel substitutes in a shorter time.

“This significant improvement in our cell-based platform enables these cells to compete in the biofuels industry,” Alper said in announcing the development. “We have moved to concentration values that begin to align with those in other industrial fuel processes.” Related: Media Spin On Oil Prices Running Out Of Fuel

The Texas announcement comes as the US National Research Council said in a new report that bio-based products already represent 2.2% of US GDP, or $353 billion, but are poised to expand even further.

“The advanced manufacturing of chemicals through biology can help address global challenges related to energy, climate change, sustainable and more productive agriculture, and environmental sustainability,” the report, entitled “Industrialization of Biology,” said in its introduction. “For example, these processes may help reduce toxic by-products, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and lower fossil fuel consumption in chemical production.”

The report says that use of bio-engineering to make chemical products has lacked applications in health and agriculture because it is a more complex process. However, several recent successes indicate the industry may be on the threshold of a breakthrough. Related: Who’s To Blame For The Oil Price Crash?

“Based on these early successes, and powered by the rapidly developing science, use of industrial biology to produce a broad range of chemical products is likely to continue to accelerate,” the report said. “The future may also include a large number of high-volume chemicals, where biology represents a better synthetic pathway (cheaper and greener) than the conventional chemical synthesis.”

The researchers at UT’s Cockrell School of Engineering underscored that point by noting that the new yeast strain could be used beyond biofuels in biochemical production of oleochemicals, which are used to make a variety of household products – ranging from nutritional polyunsaturated fatty acids to waxes, lubricants, oils, industrial solvents, cosmetics and nutraceuticals.

But the improved yeast cell, Yarrowia lipolytica, is most significant in its capacity to convert simple sugars into oils and fats, known as lipids, which can then be used in place of petroleum-derived products.

The Alper team last year published its successful results in combining the genetically engineered yeast cells of Yarrowia with ordinary table sugar to produce what Alper at the time called “a renewable version of sweet crude.” Related: Saudi Aramco’s Clever Strategy To Scoop Up America’s Best Energy Talent

The improved version can now do so more rapidly and with a concentration that could make the biofuel commercially competitive.

“Our re-engineered strain serves as a stepping stone toward sustainable and renewable production of fuels such as biodiesel,” Alper said in the UT statement. “Moreover, this work contributes to the overall goal of reaching energy independence.”

The UT discovery aligns with the US Department of Energy’s efforts to develop renewable and cost-competitive biofuels from nonfood biomass materials, the UT statement said.

“Advanced biofuels are part of America’s all-of-the-above strategy to develop domestic energy resources and win the global race in clean energy technology,” the DOE says in its description of the Bioenergy Technologies Office. The agency “works with the emerging US bio-industry to sustainably convert non-food biomass resources into cost-competitive biofuels, bio-power, and bio-products.”

By Darrell Delamaide for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News