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Biotech Company to Patent Fuel-Secreting Bacterium
NY Times ^ | September 13, 2010 | MATTHEW L. WALD

Posted on 09/15/2010 1:09:11 PM PDT by neverdem

A biotech company plans to announce Tuesday that it has won a patent on a genetically altered bacterium that converts sunlight and carbon dioxide into ingredients of diesel fuel, a step that could provide a new pathway for making ethanol or a diesel replacement that skips several cumbersome and expensive steps in existing methods.

The bacterium’s product, which it secretes like sweat, is a class of hydrocarbon molecules called alkanes that are chemically indistinguishable from the ones made in oil refineries. The organism can grow in bodies of water unfit for drinking or on land that is useless for farming, according to the company, Joule Unlimited of Cambridge, Mass.

“We make very clean, sulfur-free hydrocarbons that drop directly into the existing infrastructure for the production of diesel fuel,” said William J. Sims, the chief executive of Joule. The object, he said, was not to be an alternative for fossil fuels, but “to become a viable replacement.”

Joule said it was the first company to patent an organism that secretes hydrocarbon fuel made continuously, directly from sunlight. Other companies, including Amyris Biotechnologies of Emeryville, Calif., and LS9 of San Carlos, Calif., are working on organisms that will make fuel if fed...

--snip--

Alternative energy experts agree that photosynthesis is a promising avenue for biofuel research. The challenge is turning the resulting product into a fuel. Many companies are trying to develop an algae to do that job. But it requires energy to separate the algae from the water and then process the oil they make internally into a usable fuel. An organism that secretes the desired product directly avoids both problems.

In a test in Leander, Tex., Joule’s bacteria strain produced ethanol. Different variants can also make polymers and other high-value chemicals that are ordinarily derived from petroleum, according to Joule...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: biofuel; biotech; biotechnology; co2; cyanobacterium; electrolysis; microbiology
United States Patent 7,794,969: Methods and compositions for the recombinant biosynthesis of n-alkanes

In HTML, it's very long.

1 posted on 09/15/2010 1:09:12 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
Synthetic Photosynthesis.
2 posted on 09/15/2010 1:14:32 PM PDT by Ben Ficklin
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To: neverdem
If we put them in the Gulf of Mexico we can create oil slicks without all the wasteful drilling.

Seriously, I hope this produces oil cheaply enough to replace drilled oil, espcially Arab oil. Since it takes the carbon dioxide from the air to get the carbon for the fuel this would count as carbon neutral. The greenies should love it unless then are merely interested in controlling us rather than "saving" the earth.

3 posted on 09/15/2010 1:22:14 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Gun control was originally to protect Klansmen from their victims. The basic reason hasn't changed.)
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To: KarlInOhio

“The greenies should love it unless then are merely interested in controlling us rather than “saving” the earth.”

If this new product is made by “greedy” “profit-making” private corporations, greenies are likely to oppose it in principle. The only way it would be palatable is if the federal government nationalized the industry on grounds that nobody should profit from a “necessity” like energy.


4 posted on 09/15/2010 1:27:16 PM PDT by DrC
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To: Mother Abigail; EBH; vetvetdoug; Smokin' Joe; Global2010; Battle Axe; null and void; ...

micro ping


5 posted on 09/15/2010 1:28:10 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

“a patent on a genetically altered bacterium ...”

No No GMO!

No No GMO!


6 posted on 09/15/2010 1:31:02 PM PDT by RazzPutin ("You have told us more than you can possibly know." -- Niels Bohr)
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To: neverdem

NO!! We’re running OUT of resources. We HAVE to run out of resources. If we don’t it will ruin EVERYTHING.


7 posted on 09/15/2010 1:34:58 PM PDT by DManA
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To: DrC

“The greenies should love it unless then are merely interested in controlling us rather than “saving” the earth.”

Naaa...it’s nothing other than about taxes and control.


8 posted on 09/15/2010 1:34:58 PM PDT by WKUHilltopper (Fix bayonets!)
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To: neverdem

Is this company publicly traded?


9 posted on 09/15/2010 1:36:43 PM PDT by WKUHilltopper (Fix bayonets!)
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To: neverdem
I have been waiting for this for a long time.

Next comes a bacterium you can feed cellulose to (the most abundant bio-macro-molecule) and get pure burnable fuel.

This would be more than a shot across the bow to OPEC, it would be their death knell!

“Ask not for whom the biotechnology bell tolls, it tolls for thee Middle East!”

10 posted on 09/15/2010 1:38:43 PM PDT by allmendream (Income is EARNED not distributed. So how could it be re-distributed?)
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To: neverdem

I hope it pans out, otherwise we’ll be forced to put up with a movie titled “Who killed the Bacteria car?” in a few years.


11 posted on 09/15/2010 2:00:02 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: KarlInOhio

“Since it takes the carbon dioxide from the air to get the carbon for the fuel this would count as carbon neutral.”

If the greens cared about that they’d admit that fossil fuels are already “carbon neutral”. After all, if the biotic oil origin theory is correct, then all the carbon stored in fossil fuels came out of the atmosphere to begin with, and we are just putting it back when we burn it.


12 posted on 09/15/2010 2:05:55 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: neverdem

WOW...really sounds good.


13 posted on 09/15/2010 2:13:11 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: WKUHilltopper; neverdem
Found this:

http://www.jouleunlimited.com/

14 posted on 09/15/2010 2:18:45 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: WKUHilltopper; neverdem
Found this in About

Founded in 2007 by Flagship Venture Labs, Joule is privately held and headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

15 posted on 09/15/2010 2:20:23 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: steelyourfaith; Tolerance Sucks Rocks; SunkenCiv; Paul Pierett; neverdem; I got the rope; ...

ping!


16 posted on 09/15/2010 2:21:37 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: neverdem

What if some of these bacteria ‘escaped’ and started growing in a nasty pond in my yard, would I be able to harvest the alkanes for my own use?


17 posted on 09/15/2010 2:22:13 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault (The Obama magic is <strike>fading</strike>gone.)
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To: neverdem

Finally - we’re moving in the right direction...


18 posted on 09/15/2010 2:23:43 PM PDT by GOPJ (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2589165/posts)
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To: KarlInOhio
The greenies should love it unless then are merely interested in controlling us rather than "saving" the earth.

The greenies are currently opposing a solar plant to be built on scrub land in California if that tells you anything.

19 posted on 09/15/2010 2:29:47 PM PDT by Moonman62 (Half of all Americans are above average.)
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To: allmendream

It will happen. I am confident for it.


20 posted on 09/15/2010 2:45:37 PM PDT by BenKenobi (“this country will be less conservative with Castle voting 55% with the GOP")
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To: Right Wing Assault

What if the bacteria escaped and started turning everything to oil, everywhere.


21 posted on 09/15/2010 2:46:33 PM PDT by Rinnwald
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To: Right Wing Assault

Don’t see why not.


22 posted on 09/15/2010 2:48:36 PM PDT by BenKenobi (“this country will be less conservative with Castle voting 55% with the GOP")
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To: Right Wing Assault

You would have a flammable smelly oil slick in your back yard. I hope they have an off switch.


23 posted on 09/15/2010 2:50:02 PM PDT by dangerdoc
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Flagship Venture Labs? Does Dr. Venture work there doing SUPER science?
24 posted on 09/15/2010 2:56:59 PM PDT by allmendream (Income is EARNED not distributed. So how could it be re-distributed?)
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To: DrC
nobody should profit from a “necessity” like energy

the government already makes a profit of oil by taxation and leasing and import duties it will not give up this golden goose.

25 posted on 09/15/2010 3:20:29 PM PDT by guitarplayer1953 (Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to GOD! Thomas Jefferson)
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To: guitarplayer1953

“nobody should profit from a “necessity” like energy”

I certainly hope you meant the government should not profit from energy. If there were no profit in energy production, who would provide it?


26 posted on 09/15/2010 3:49:00 PM PDT by dangerdoc
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To: dangerdoc
I was quoting from a previous poster and mentioned that the government make a profit off it right now.
27 posted on 09/15/2010 3:50:27 PM PDT by guitarplayer1953 (Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to GOD! Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; AdmSmith; Arthur Wildfire! March; Berosus; bigheadfred; blueyon; ...

I secrete fuel, just no one wants it. Go figure. ;’)

Thanks E.


28 posted on 09/15/2010 4:29:04 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Democratic Underground... matters are worse, as their latest fund drive has come up short...)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Of course the greenies driven by their far left socialist agendas not advertised to the public that support them will do everything in their power to limit available lands where it is deemed appropriate to construct the millions of acres of units that would be required to say produce just enough stock that then can be converted into say jet fuel to fuel the US commercial fleets.
Bear in mind that a Boeing 747 jet holds a massive amount of fuel. While there are many different series of Boeing 747 jets, the maximum fuel capacity ranges from 48,455 to 64,225 U.S. gallons.
Granted that is the extreme. But do the math. How many flights per year does one 747 on average fly. I don't know what the total fuel consumption per year by all commercial jet traffic consumes but I think it is fair to say, it would take one hell of a lot of land set aside for these units to achieve parity just on this one fuel demand.
We are talking about millions of acres dedicated to this one particular company. How do they wheel and deal to purchase such huge tracts of land with no fights.
The basic idea is great. And they obviously have some pilot plants that prove the technology is feasible. I do wish them success. It is just hard to see it as some fix to our fossil fuel needs.
What this company needs is huge investment by those in power whether they be oil/gas companies or private investors, and large banks etc., to perhaps make it a partial reality.
But NO. I don't want to subsidize it with tax payer monies like so many of the now failing wind turbine and solar projects within the EU.
And that is where I fear it will lead. We shall see.
29 posted on 09/15/2010 6:22:52 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned....)
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To: neverdem; Marine_Uncle; thackney; BOBTHENAILER; Fred Nerks; NormsRevenge; SierraWasp; ...
Trying to learn more about Flagship Venture labs...found this:

Joule Patents Secret Sauce for Diesel-Excreting Organisms

***************************EXCERPT***************************

Joule Unlimited promises it can genetically engineer an organism that eats CO2 and produces a drop-in diesel fuel. On Tuesday the company announced that it has landed a patent on its “recombinant biosynthesis” technology, putting it on track to commercialize a feedstock-free process it says can churn out “diesel-range hydrocarbons” for $30 a barrel.

U.S. Patent #7,794,969, AKA “Methods and Compositions for the Recombinant Biosynthesis of n-Alkanes,” covers the Cambridge, Mass.-based startup’s process to engineer “photosynthetic microorganisms for the direct synthesis of diesel molecules.” While other biofuel startups are using genetically engineered organisms to convert  sugar into drop-in fuels (see Amyris and Solazyme for examples), Joule says its organisms need only sunlight, water and carbon dioxide — a fact that’s key to its low-cost claims.

Joule’s “helioculture” systems — glass containers of algae and water laid out in a manner similar to solar panels, with pipes to take the resulting biofuel to storage tanks — are meant to be modular and scalable, CEO Bill Sims told us last year. Unlike many other algae biofuel efforts that rely on harvesting and processing the algae to make fuel or other products, Joule’s microorganisms keep pumping out fuel in a continuous process. Craig Venter’s startup Synthetic Genomics is working on engineering algae to do someting similar, and has a $300 million research project underway with oil giant ExxonMobil.

Joule’s pilot project in Leander, Texas is now producing ethanol, rather than diesel, and can produce up to 10,000 gallons per acre per year, though Joule said it’s shooting for 15,000 gallons per acre. As for its diesel product, Joule plans to start pilot production by year’s end and open a commercial plant in 2012.

Joule raised a $30 million series B round in April, adding to the “substantially less than $50 million” CEO Bill Sims said the company had raised as of July 2009, when it came out of stealth. The company was founded in 2007 at the Flagship Venture Labs, an arm of Cambridge-based Flagship Ventures.

30 posted on 09/15/2010 8:03:07 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: All; blam; SunkenCiv
AND:

http://www.flagshipventures.com/

31 posted on 09/15/2010 8:05:41 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Thank you.


32 posted on 09/15/2010 9:40:27 PM PDT by WKUHilltopper (Fix bayonets!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
And that was what I was basing my statements on after reading the three tier section at their site. 15K gal per acre avg.. Perhaps keeping it at $30/gal..
With that. I will shortly taking a shower then off to work. Have a great upcoming day.
33 posted on 09/16/2010 1:01:56 AM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned....)
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To: Marine_Uncle
it would take one hell of a lot of land set aside for these units to achieve parity just on this one fuel demand. We are talking about millions of acres dedicated to this one particular company. How do they wheel and deal to purchase such huge tracts of land with no fights.

Saltwater algae floats, oil bacteria probably would also. The solution to the land problem is use the open ocean. An added benefit is there are much fewer clouds offshore boosting production. The entire petroleum industry could be replaced by using less than 2% of the ocean surface. The land, water, and sunshine are vast and free.

34 posted on 09/16/2010 6:11:51 AM PDT by Reeses
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To: guitarplayer1953

“the government already makes a profit of oil by taxation and leasing and import duties it will not give up this golden goose.”

I didn’t saying progressives were logically consistent. I’m just saying that their irrational opposition to private sector profits likely would make them skeptical of even “green” ways to create energy. Hence, the only way they could rationalize it to themselves is if it were government-controlled.

Hypocisy is an enduring feature of progressivism: private monopolies=bad; public monopolies=good. Private profits=bad; public taxes=good. When evil private tobacco companies sell cigarettes, they are “exploiting” helpless smokers, but when government taxes those very same smokers, it is “helping” them by increasing their incentive to stop smoking.

It’s ironic that whenever gasoline prices go haywire, politicians are the first to point fingers at greedy oil companies, but I have NEVER seen in such circumstances politicians offering to lower gasoline taxes to alleviate the burden on consumers. Tobacco taxes, oil taxes: there’s a very long list of “golden gooses” on which politicians are all too happy to feed.


35 posted on 09/16/2010 6:46:58 AM PDT by DrC
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To: Reeses; Ernest_at_the_Beach
Your reply was quite reasonable. But we must take into account these operations are based on as you can see in the pictures, heavy use of huge solar panel arrays, large holding tanks, mixing tanks, other equipment. One would have to use huge floating platforms anchored off shore like oil rigs, but much larger most likely to make it at all useful. Think of one square acre as 208 feet by 208 feet. The tens of thousands of platforms must be connected to underwater pipelines that would send the product(s) to shore facilities for either carting away to refineries and or refined into final fractions on site, eg. oil refinery cracking towers, hydroforming etc..
It would be interesting to see some studies on what areas would benefit the most from adequate amounts of sunshine, little cloud coverage, little storm surge etc..
Perhaps this is all in the works. I of course just touch on a few of the more obvious things that must be fully proven in to make it a cost effective operation. But like I said to Ernest. I am for such operations if they do not use tax dollars to subsidize them.
36 posted on 09/16/2010 7:17:09 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned....)
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To: Marine_Uncle
I am for such operations if they do not use tax dollars to subsidize them.

One exception: our military, which is the largest single user of fuel in the world. Most leaps in technology are funded by military spending on new, more effeicient methods of killing annoying people. That's because initially only the military can afford the price tag, and then the price drops. When integrated circuits were first invented they cost $1,000 each. Only military orders for use in missiles allowed the factories to be built. Today entire systems on a chip can be bought for pennies. That said, the replacement for petroleum won't happen on Obama's watch. He's defunding the military to buy Chinese windmills, solar boondoggles, and putting more people on food stamps.

37 posted on 09/17/2010 3:36:18 AM PDT by Reeses
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Thanks for the comment, pic & links!


38 posted on 09/17/2010 9:40:18 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: Reeses

You made some good points.


39 posted on 09/17/2010 9:55:36 AM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned....)
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To: Right Wing Assault

Maybe the bacteria already existed, and they just discovered it :)


40 posted on 09/17/2010 3:02:22 PM PDT by itsahoot (We the people allowed Republican leadership to get us here, only God's Grace can get us out.)
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