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U.S. firm says it can "grow" diesel

03-01-2011 12:30 BJT

BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhuanet) -- A biotechnology company says it can produce diesel using the same ingredients that make grass grow, media reported on Monday.

The Massachusetts company Joule Unlimited has created a genetically engineered organism capable of producing diesel fuel or ethanol, which can be used to run cars and jet engines.

Joule, a producer of alternative energy technologies, was founded in 2007 and based in Cambridge.

The organism that Joule created is called a cyanobacterium, and it uses water, sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce and secrete renewable fuels.

Researchers have created fuel from solar energy through the use of corn and algae. But biomass is the “Achilles' heel” of biofuel production because of its fluctuating costs and the expense of transporting, processing and disposing of it, the company CEO Bill Sims said.

Joule’s process for photosynthetic fuel production uses a solar converter and microorganism to capture sunlight and convert carbon dioxide and water directly into liquid fuels and chemicals.

Joule claims that it can produce renewable fuels and chemicals — including 15,000 gallons of diesel per acre annually at full commercial scale — at yields that are up to 50 times greater than processes that use biomass.

In its projection, Joule can produce diesel for as low as 30 U.S. dollars a barrel, including all of its costs, and ethanol for 50 dollars a barrel.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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