• 3 minutes Oil Price Could Fall To $30 If Global Deal Not Extended
  • 8 minutes Why Is America (Texas) Burning Millions of Dollars Per Day Of Natural Gas?
  • 11 minutes Is $60/Bbl WTI still considered a break even for Shale Oil
  • 15 minutes CNN:America's oil boom will break more records this year. OPEC is stuck in retreat
  • 4 hours The Pope: "Climate change ... doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain."
  • 1 day Hormuz and surrounding waters: Energy Threats to the World: Oil, LNG, shipping markets digest new risks after Strait of Hormuz attack
  • 36 mins Greenpeace claims one oil rig is "pushing the world closer to a climate catastrophe"
  • 21 hours Russia removes special military forces from Venezuela . . . . Maduro gone by September ? . . . Oil starts to flow ? Think so . .
  • 8 hours The Latest: Iranian FM Says US Cannot Expect To ‘Stay Safe’
  • 2 days Never Knew Gasoline Prices were this important!
  • 1 min Middle East on brink: Oil tankers attacked off Oman
  • 1 day The Magic and Wonders of US Shale Supply: Keeping energy price shock minimised: US oil supply keeping lid on prices despite global risks: IEA chief
  • 7 hours Emmissions up, renewables nowhere
  • 2 days As Iran Nuclear Deal Flounders, France Turns To Saudi For Oil
  • 1 day Plants are Dying
  • 1 day We Are Better Than This
  • 2 days (Un)expectedly: UK Court Sets Assange U.S. Extradition Hearing For February 2020
Alt Text

Ex-Trump Advisor Wins Big On EPA Biofuel Tweaks

Billionaire and ex-Trump advisor Carl…

Alt Text

The Death Of Algal Biofuel

The biofuel craze may have…

Andy Soos

Andy Soos

Andy Soos is a writer for the news site: Environmental News Network

More Info

Trending Discussions

Butanol Breakthrough – Could This Biofuel One Day Replace Gasoline?

Butanol may be used as a fuel in an internal combustion engine. Because its longer hydrocarbon chain causes it to be fairly non-polar, it is more similar to gasoline than it is to ethanol. Butanol has been demonstrated to work in vehicles designed for use with gasoline without modification. University of California, Berkeley, chemists have engineered bacteria to churn out a gasoline-like biofuel (butanol) at about 10 times the rate of competing microbes, a breakthrough that could soon provide an affordable transportation fuel.

The potential feedstocks are the same as for ethanol: energy crops such as sugar beets, sugar cane, corn grain, wheat and cassava, prospective non-food energy crops such as switchgrass and even guayule in North America, as well as agricultural byproducts such as straw and corn stalks.

The advance is reported in this week's issue of the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

Biobutanol can be produced by fermentation of biomass by the A.B.E. process. The process uses the bacteriumClostridium acetobutylicum, also known as the Weizmann organism.

Various species of the Clostridium bacteria naturally produce a chemical called n-butanol (normal butanol) that has been proposed as a greener substitute for diesel oil and gasoline. While most researchers, including a few biofuel companies, have genetically altered Clostridium to boost its ability to produce n-butanol, others have plucked enzymes from the bacteria and inserted them into other microbes, such as yeast, to turn them into n-butanol factories. Yeast and E. coli, one of the main bacteria in the human gut, are considered to be easier to grow on an industrial scale.

While these techniques have produced promising genetically altered E. coli bacteria and yeast, n-butanol production has been limited.

Chang and her colleagues stuck the same enzyme pathway into E. coli, but replaced two of the five enzymes with look-alikes from other organisms that avoided one of the problems other researchers have had: n-butanol being converted back into its chemical precursors by the same enzymes that produce it.

The basic steps evolved by Clostridium to make butanol involve five enzymes that convert a common molecule, acetyl-CoA, into n-butanol. Other researchers who have engineered yeast or E. coli to produce n-butanol have taken the entire enzyme pathway and transplanted it into these microbes. However, n-butanol is not produced rapidly in these systems because the native enzymes can work in reverse to convert butanol back into its starting precursors.

Chang avoided this problem by searching for organisms that have similar enzymes, but that work so slowly in reverse that little n-butanol is lost through a backward reaction.

By. Andy Soos




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage

Trending Discussions


Leave a comment
  • KitemanSA on January 20 2012 said:
    Can they make it eat syn-gas? If so, they may have something big here.

Leave a comment





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