ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit 2011

Showcasers with Primary Industry: Electrofuels

Columbia University

Title / Name of Technology:Biofuels from CO2 using Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria in a Reverse Microbial Fuel Cell
Development Status:Concept
Brief Description of Technology:We are creating a reverse microbial fuel cell using genetically-modified N. europaea cells. These cells will grow on electrochemically-generated ammonia and fix carbon dioxide into biofuels such as isobutanol. Ammonia is a novel mediator for electron transfer and it can also be obtained from waterwater treatment.

Ginkgo BioWorks

Title / Name of Technology:Electrofuels
Development Status:Concept
Brief Description of Technology:Engineering organisms to convert CO2 and electricity to isooctane or other chemicals. The technology is also being extended to use hydrogen sulfide as an energy source. H2S is a major waste product in the desulfurization process in petroleum refining.

Harvard University, Wyss Institute

Primary Industry (other):Biofuels
Title / Name of Technology:Engineering a Bacterial Reverse Fuel Cell
Development Status:Concept
Brief Description of Technology:We are genetically engineering a bacterium to absorb electricity from an electrode, fix carbon dioxide, and synthesize a biofuel. We are also constructing a physical system that will house the bacteria.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Title / Name of Technology:Development of an Integrated Microbial-ElectroCatalytic (MEC) System for Liquid Biofuel Production from CO2
Development Status:Concept
Brief Description of Technology:A combined microbial and electrochemical catalytic system will be developed to transform electricity and CO2 to generate energy-dense biofuels. A novel metal complex that converts water to H2 at high rates with input of electricity will be used to generate H2 for microbial growth and biofuel production.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Title / Name of Technology:Bioprocess and microbe Engineering for Total Carbon Utilization in Biofuel Production
Development Status:Prototype
Brief Description of Technology:Combined anaerobic and aerobic oil production system from CO/CO2 and hydrogen, or electrons from a Bioelectrochemical System, for the production of biodiesel.

North Carolina State University

Primary Industry (other):Electrofuels
Title / Name of Technology:Electrofuels
Development Status:Concept
Brief Description of Technology:Pathways and enzymes from extremely thermophilic archaea are used to fix CO2 into liquid biofuels, with molecular H2 as the reductant.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Primary Industry (other):Electrofuels
Title / Name of Technology:Biofuels Production via Electrotrophic Biosynthesis
Development Status:Concept
Brief Description of Technology:Conversion of carbon dioxide to energy-dense fuels is done via a hybrid bio-chem route using electricity. Carbon dioxide is converted to an intermediate via a novel bioprocess, and then to hydrocarbons via chemical catalysis. The bioprocess involves multi- enzyme pathway in electrotrophic microorganism and an efficient bioreactor for intermediate production. A catalytic reactor transforms the biological intermediate into fuels. The overall efficiency of converting solar to fuel energy is > 1%.

OPX Biotechnologies, Inc.

Primary Industry (other):Electrofuels
Title / Name of Technology:Novel Biological Conversion Of Hydrogen And Carbon Dioxide Directly Into Biodiesel
Development Status:Concept
Brief Description of Technology:OPX Biotechnologies, Inc. (OPXBIO), NREL, and the United States subsidiary of Johnson Matthey will develop and optimize a novel, engineered microorganism that directly produces a biodiesel-equivalent electrofuel from renewable hydrogen and carbon dioxide. OPXBIO’s proprietary genomics technology, coupled with NREL’s directed and improved H2 utilization and CO2 fixation will allow rapid metabolic engineering of a microbe to achieve the fuel production metrics necessary for commercial success.

Sun Catalytix Corporation

Primary Industry (other):Electrofuels
Title / Name of Technology:Affordable Energy From Sunlight and Water
Development Status:Prototype
Brief Description of Technology:Sun Catalytix is focused on using newly-discovered low-cost catalytic materials to enable generation of affordable renewable fuel from sunlight and water. The company’s technology builds on breakthrough water-splitting discovery work from the lab of Professor Daniel Nocera at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The company’s ARPA-E program is continuing the advancement of our catalytic technology in two directions in parallel, in electrolysis cells and in photoelectrochemical cells.

The Ohio State University

Title / Name of Technology:Bioconversion of carbon dioxide to biofuels by faculttaively autotrophic hyfrogen bacteria
Development Status:Concept
Brief Description of Technology:We seek to convert carbon dioxide into infrastructure-compatible biofuels via engineered microbes that are able to grow on mixtures of carbon dioxide, oxygen, and hydrogen in the absence of photosynthesis.

University of California, Los Angeles

Title / Name of Technology:Electro-Autotrophic Synthesis of Higher Alcohols
Development Status:Prototype
Brief Description of Technology:Current technologies using biological photosynthesis to convert sunlight to liquid transportation fuels are relatively inefficient. Conversely, man-made solar cells are more efficient in energy conversion, but the electricity generated presents a storage problem. This project will develop microorganisms using synthetic biology and metabolic engineering to derive energy from electricity instead of light for CO2 fixation and fuel synthesis.

University of Massachusetts

Title / Name of Technology:Microbial Electrosynthesis
Development Status:Prototype
Brief Description of Technology:Microbial electrosynthesis is an artificial form of photosynthesis in which microorganisms convert carbon dioxide and water to transportation fuels, or other desirable organic compounds, with solar-generated electricity as the energy source. Microbial electrosynthesis is much more efficient, and results in significantly less environmental degradation, than biomass-based energy processes.

Platinum Sponsors
Ernst & Young Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Silicon Valley Bank
Gold Sponsors
Autodesk MDB MDB
Corporate Acceleration Partners
Applied Materials Battelle BOSCH BNL
Case Western Reserve University Constellation Energy elstat Dupont
elstat EWI Research Center General Atomics Lockheed Martin
United Technologies Research Center  
*Partner Organizations are participants in programs designed to accelerate technology commercialization.
Silver Sponsor
Research Corporation for Science Advancement
Investor Acceleration Partners
Mohr Davidow Sequoia
*Partner Organizations are participants in matchmaking program for one-on-one meetings with Technology Showcase participants.
Technology Development Partners
Argonne C2B2 C2B2 Idaho National Laboratory
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory NETL NREL Oak Ridge National Lab
Palo Alto Research Center SunShot Initiative The U.S. Department of Energy EERE The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science
Student Patron Program Sponsors
Baruch Future Ventures Mohr Davidow Venrock
Federal Agency Partner
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