Skip to comments.E. Coli Engineered to Produce Record-Setting Amounts of Alternative Fuel [butanol]
Posted on 03/18/2011 10:38:44 AM PDT by Red Badger
Researchers at UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a way to produce normal butanol -- often proposed as a "greener" fuel alternative to diesel and gasoline -- from bacteria at rates significantly higher than those achieved using current production methods.
The findings, reported online in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, mark an important advance in the production of normal butanol, or n-butanol, a four-carbon chain alcohol that has been shown to work well with existing energy infrastructure, including in vehicles designed for gasoline, without modifications that would be required with other biofuels.
The UCLA team, led by James C. Liao, UCLA's Chancellor's Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, demonstrated success in producing 15 to 30 grams of n-butanol per liter of culture medium using genetically engineered Escherichia coli -- a record-setting increase over the typical one to four grams produced per liter in the past.
For the study, Liao and his team initially constructed an n-butanol biochemical pathway in E. coli, a microbe that doesn't naturally produce n-butanol, but found that production levels were limited. However, after adding metabolic driving forces to the pathway, the researchers witnessed a tenfold increase in the production of n-butanol. The metabolic driving forces pushed the carbon flux to n-butanol.
"Like human beings, microbes need an incentive to work," said Liao, the study's senior author.
"We created driving forces by genetically engineering the metabolism," said Claire R. Shen, a UCLA Engineering graduate student and lead author of the study.
While certain microbes, including species of the bacteria Clostridium, naturally produce n-butanol, Liao's team used E. coli because it is easier to manipulate and has been used industrially in producing various chemicals.
"By using E. coli, we can make it produce only the compound with no other byproducts," Liao said.
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...
Rest In Peace, old friend, your work is finished.....
If you want ON or OFF the DIESEL KnOcK LIST just FReepmail me.....
This is a fairly HIGH VOLUME ping list on some days.....
Butanol Bio-Fuel KNOCK!............
Butane is a gas with the formula C4H10
This is Butanol or butyl alcohol which can refer to any of the four isomeric alcohols of formula C4H9OH.........
The government by backing ethanol meant billions of taxes and private dollars that could have been spent on butanol were wasted instead on ethanol. Why would a company spend $$ on butanol which may or may not pay off in the future when they can be guaranteed to make billions right now off the government by making ethanol?
So if butanol is practical, if the government wasn't involved someone would have made it work by now. Instead we wasted valuable $$, resources and time for no tangible benefit.
The problem with the bioengineered bacteria and algae is one of scale. You have to move craploads of stuff to get this to a point where it would make a dent in our fuel needs.
I didn't see a mention of how long it takes to produce that 15 to 30 grams per liter, and whether it's economically viable.
Now this one is interesting, still the biggest challenge is always scaling this up to industrial levels.
You can do all kinds of incredible stuff in a beaker within a laboratory. 99% of the time it can’t be scaled up.
For some reason, microbes seem to behave differently in large batches and maintaining the delicate balance within the batch either results in the death of the microbes or sub-optimal production/extraction.
I would like some of these labs work out a way for other microbes to help the microbes they develop in the lab.
Could you imagine a microbe that would transport everything to the microbe producing the fuel and that would transport the fuel back to an extraction medium? That might break the log jam of bringing these microbes in the lab to industry.
Lets all drive down to our local Reps office and ask for a tank full....idiots....drill and refine please while dreaming about this crap....so we can survive.
We have more light sweet crude under American soil (as shallow as 1000 ft.) than we ever sucked out of enemy sand.
I am hoping that the science of mass production can be worked out, there is nothing better in my mind that to find a way to make ourselves fuel independent from the rest of the world. A lot more science is needed and not just pure research science but science driven by the same enteuprenurial spirit that bought us the industrial revolution.
Same goes for 3 kinds of gas and diesel. Plus the summer vs winter versions.
Wouldn’t it be less expensive in the long run to settle on one fuel? If it were diesel, that crap load of stuff to move would be reduced by 1/4th.
[ We have more light sweet crude under American soil (as shallow as 1000 ft.) than we ever sucked out of enemy sand. ]
Indeed and we should be using far more of it than we currently are.
E. Coli is part of the normal gut bacteria in humans..
Will it produce N-butanol in your gut if you get
infected with the modified bacterium?
If it does, I suggest you quit smoking...............
I notice, that they keep coming up with stuff that doesn’t work outside the lab.
I searched and searched, no one seems to be analyzing these failures to optimize this process of moving from the lab to industry.
There must be common issues and if these are researched on addressed could change the fundamental energy balance of the world.
Everytime one of these green freaks sees a story like this, they think it is a home run and if it isn’t then it is the big bad oil companies stopping it.
All bio-mass type energy production is doomed to failure because of the large amounts of real estate needed to scale them up to meaningful levels. They are all driven by sunlight which is a very diffuse form of energy.
That problem needs to be addressed before wasting any more money on research like this.
Yeah, you would have a self sustaining drunk.
1. Sunlight is actually very powerful 1000 wats per square meter. If we assume carbon fuels are caused by decay of vegetation - they are actually just concentrated forms of sun energy converted t ochemical energy.
It is the conversion process that needs imp[rovement. 10KW = 10 m^2 of area.
2. Mitsubishi paid for this research.
And a legal excuse, too!
No word on where the feedstock of atoms from which to make butanol will come from. Let us hope this does not lead to yet another way that government can force us to convert food to fuel while at the same time denies us ways to extract non-food hydrocarbons from the earth.
If we start to see more exploding, drunken frat boys, then we’ll know that this strain has escaped into the wild.
[ All bio-mass type energy production is doomed to failure because of the large amounts of real estate needed to scale them up to meaningful levels. They are all driven by sunlight which is a very diffuse form of energy. ]
If we had a long term Energy Production Plan, (One that incorporates both Nuclear and Orbital Solar Power), we would have more than enough energy to build facilities that would be large bioreactors that would be used to produce and distill liquid carbon based fuels.
Sadly we don’t have leaders who look more than 8 years ahead to the future.
I forgot to add that the Cinese will probably beat us to this goal because we are so bound up in regulation and usless government agencies.
I have that magical 100 MPG carb AND the magic electric car stored in a secret location.
Bought them both from an engineer I knew in the 1950’s.
My secret code name is Exxon.
And have you ever smelled butanol? Ain’t pleasant.
Dupont has been pushing Butanol for years. You don’t have to worry about E15 or E85. You just pour this stuff in the tank and it works like gasoline. Supposedly gets better mileage than gasoline.
What Is Butanol?
Butanol is a four carbon alcohol. It has double the amount of carbon of ethanol, which equates to a 25 percent increase in harvestable energy (Btu’s).
Butanol is produced by fermentation, from corn, grass, leaves, agricultural waste and other biomass.
Butanol is safer to handle with a Reid Value of 0.33 psi, which is a measure of a fluid’s rate of evaporation when compared to gasoline at 4.5 and ethanol at 2.0 psi.
Butanol is an alcohol that can be but does not have to be blended with fossil fuels.
Butanol when consumed in an internal combustion engine yields no SOX, NOX or carbon monoxide all environmentally harmful byproducts of combustion. CO2 is the combustion byproduct of butanol, and is considered environmentally ‘green’.
Butanol is far less corrosive than ethanol and can be shipped and distributed through existing pipelines and filling stations.
Butanol solves the safety problems associated with the infrastructure of the hydrogen supply. Reformed butanol has four more hydrogen atoms than ethanol, resulting in a higher energy output and is used as a fuel cell fuel.
Butanol is an industrial commodity, with a 370 million gallons per year market with a selling price of $3.75 per gallon.
Hydrogen generated during the butanol fermentation process is easily recovered, increasing the energy yield of a bushel of corn by an additional 18 percent over the energy yield of ethanol produced from the same quantity of corn.
Butanol smells funny.
Here’s a swell scenario for you. Modified E. coli, being a natural flora of the gut, escapes and infects a population in a wide radius from the butanol “refinery”. After an initial huge outbreak of almost fatal diarrhea, the population settles down as the modified strain becomes resident normal flora, dutifully producing butanol 24 hours a day in the gut of every individual in the population.
Then somebody finally reads Dow Chemical’s MSDS on n-butanol: “Birth defects have been observed in animals exposed to high concentrations of n-butanol which
also caused serious adverse effects to the exposed mothers.”
If the E. coli is a persistent strain, the infection in individuals would be essentially incurable, and passed easily from person to person by intimate contact.
Sounds like a great green technology on the horizon. As usual, not human-friendly, but Gaia will be pleased.
I ALWAYS use replication limiting code! I confess that I set the value too high the first time. It was a VERY long time ago and fortunately, by the time the replication limit was hit we lost only a small part of the ocean and Atlantis.
I still miss my old family.
Thus, from ethanol we might get acetaldehyde (possibly formed via ketene), a highly reactive and biologically harmful material. Only 10% ethanol is now routinely added to gasoline; if we decide to burn 100% n-butanol, would we have to deal with the obnoxious butyraldehyde that may be produced?
The energy in coal and oil comes from sunlight but it accumulated over millions of years. That’s why it’s so valuable.
Modern day solar energy and it’s derivatives can’t provide the same energy density as “fossil fuels”. Only nuclear can do that.
All well and good but corn is “biomass” as well. I just think it is silly to burn food when we could be converting some other source of hydrocarbons that was inedible.
See, Mom, I told you that green, moldy chicken salad in the back of the ‘fridge was a Science Experiment!
(apologies to my long departed Mom)
-——Like human beings, microbes need an incentive to work-——
The microbes are enslaved and then beaten to increase production.
What was the production medium. It is my understanding thet n-butanol can be produced from kudzu. Maybe the new process will allow harvest of the monster hoards in the Southeast
I understand your energy density statement -
It is important to understand that the major problem with solar is cost - not energy.
There is a lot of energy coming down.
By the same theme - I believe nuke has a lot greater “energy density” than coal or oil!
Solar can easily provide the same energy density as oil - just do the same thing oil did - convert light to chemical storage. Your discusion relates to energy storage media, not the energy itself.
If we could grab solar at 10% of its current cost - we could rock! The problem is that - “if pigs had wings”.
Seriously - they don’t compare well on the density scale - because coal is non-renewable. So - if I’m collecting solar - I cna just move the goalposts and say “my field wil lcollect X energy in ten years” - or 20 years, etc
I understand your point - just advising that there is a surprising amount of energy in that KW/M^2.
>>Instead we wasted valuable $$, resources and time for no tangible benefit. <<
When are you going to understand that government does NOT have the same goals as a normal working person does? Why should they have the same goals as we do? Think control and growth when you think of government and you’ll get to the right door.