The privately held, venture backed industrial biotechnology company, LS9, maintains that the answer to our gas crisis is renewable petroleum technology that they have custom engineered, a Designer Biofuel. Researchers at the San Francisco-based company have been able to alter existing bacteria to yield new, diesel-producing strains. They are also working on developing a bacteria strain that makes crude oil that canbe trucked and go through the refining process.
The hydrocarbon based biofuel mimics fuel properties of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, which allows it to run through existing pipeline infrastructure and run in any vehicle, setting it apart from other biofuel products. While LS9’s Designer Biofuel emits the same amount of greenhouse gas as regular crude oil and petroleum products in a combustible engine, the company purports that ultimately that they will have a much smaller impact since they don’t have to drill for the feedstock. Their product also produces twice the energy of regular petroleum products; so, it requires half of the amount of feedstock to yield the same amount of energy.
Aside from the environmental questions of emissions, the company is also competing with the challenge of moving this laboratory production to full scale industrial production.
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