Navigation Links
ISU researcher develops green, bio-based process for producing fuel additive
Date:6/24/2010

AMES A new green, bio-based method for producing a much-used fuel additive and industrial chemical that is currently made from petroleum products has been developed by an Iowa State University researcher.

Thomas Bobik, professor of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, invented a process for manufacturing isobutene (isobutylene) by identifying a new, natural enzyme that produces the fuel organically.

Bobik, along with David Gogerty, a doctoral student working with him on the project, believe that once more research is completed, there could be huge benefits to the biofuels industry.

"I would emphasize that we are very early on in the process," said Bobik. "But isobutene has some special properties that could have a big impact."

Bobik's enzyme makes it possible to convert the glucose found naturally in plants to make isobutene. The enzyme is found naturally in about half of all organisms in the world.

While patent applications proceed, Bobik will not disclose the specific enzyme.

Isobutene is a gas used to produce chemicals and also in the manufacturing of fuel additives, adhesives, plastics and synthetic rubber.

It can be chemically converted to isooctane, which is a fuel that could be used to replace gasoline additive methyl tert-butyl ether (MBTE), which can be environmentally harmful.

Isooctane is used in gasoline to stop engine knocking and other problems. Currently, isooctane is produced from petroleum products.

By using his naturally occurring, biological process to produce isobutene, Bobik believes there will be environmental and cost benefits to the biofuels industry.

Currently, one of the biggest expenses in producing the biofuel ethanol is the cost of separating the ethanol from the water where it's made. Bobik's new process will not include the cost of separation.

"Isobutene is a gas, so we can imagine that it will be easy to remove the isobutene from the vessel in which it was made, and that should be a very cheap and efficient way to purify the biofuel," said Bobik.

One of the drawbacks, Bobik warns, is the process currently takes too long.

"The activity of the enzyme (in making the isobutene) is low," Bobik said.

"It's too low for commercial application. So we're trying to use directed enzyme evolution to improve the activity of the enzyme so it can become commercially viable."

Directed enzyme evolution is the effort to engineer enzymes to perform certain functions. In this case, it is trying to find a way to get the enzyme to produce isobutene more quickly than in nature.

Bobik says progress is being made rapidly and perhaps, within 10 years, motorists may be using a bio-based, environmentally friendly ingredient in their gas tanks every time they fill up.


'/>"/>

Contact: Thomas Bobik
bobik@iastate.edu
515-294-4165
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Researchers create self-assembling nanodevices that move and change shape on demand
2. UCI researchers develop worlds first plastic antibodies
3. Research on stem cells wins first prize for Hebrew University researcher
4. Little is understood about alcohols effect on fetal development, Georgetown researchers say
5. Florida State researcher uncovers proteins role in cell division
6. Researchers identify a fundamental process in lysosomal function and protein degradation
7. High-yield agriculture slows pace of global warming, say Stanford researchers
8. Mass. General researchers develop functional, transplantable rat liver grafts
9. OU researchers find way to prevent blindness in research model for retinitis pigmentosa
10. Texas A&M veterinary researchers achieve cloning first
11. Researchers discover mechanism that limits scar formation
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
ISU researcher develops green, bio-based process for producing fuel additive
(Date:4/18/2017)... a global expert in SoC-based imaging and computing solutions, has developed ... the company,s hybrid codec technology. A demonstration utilizing TeraFaces ® , ... showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan at Tokyo Big Sight April ... Vegas Convention Center April 24-27. ... Click here for an image of the M820 ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... April 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized ... solutions, today announced that it has been awarded ... Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack ... "Innovation has been a driving force within ... will allow us to innovate and develop new ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... April 6, 2017 Forecasts by ... Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, Government & ... Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), Industrial, Retail, ... Are you looking for a definitive report ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... , Oct. 11, 2017  VMS BioMarketing, a leading provider ... nationwide oncology Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) network, which will launch ... for communication among health care professionals to enhance the patient ... office staff, and other health care professionals to help women ... cancer. ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 , ... San Diego-based team ... its corporate rebranding initiative announced today. The bold new look is part of ... the company moves into a significant growth period. , It will also expand its ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... Oct. 10, 2017 SomaGenics announced the receipt ... to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected to be the ... RNAs (including microRNAs) from single cells using NGS methods. ... need to accelerate development of approaches to analyze the ... "New techniques for measuring levels of mRNAs in ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its national board meeting in North ... in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for membership in ... winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the discovery of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: