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A fragrant new biofuel
Date:3/14/2012

umber indicates a shorter ignition delay period and is more favorable than a lower number. In the United States, diesel fuel must have a minimum cetane number of 40. The cetane number for undecanone was 56.6. The number for a 50/50 mix of undecanone and tridecanone was 58.4 Despite this impressive performance, there was a concern that both these methyl ketones have a relatively high melting point, which is a disadvantage for cold-temperature fuel properties.

"We were able to mitigate the melting point problem in our best producing strains of E. coli by increasing the percentage of monounsaturated methyl ketones, which have much lower melting points than their saturated homologs," Beller says.

For the next step, Beller and his colleagues will focus on increasing production and optimizing fuel properties of the methyl ketones by modulating their composition with respect to chain length and degree of unsaturation.

"Since these methyl ketones are fatty acid-derived compounds, we hope that advances that we make in enhancing their microbial production will have relevance to other fatty acid-derived biofuels as well," Beller says.


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Contact: Lynn Yarris
lcyarris@lbl.gov
510-486-5375
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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