Navigation Links
Iowa State researchers looking for catalyst that allows plants to produce hydrocarbons
Date:10/1/2009

AMES, Iowa Plants and algae may be a source of green, renewable hydrocarbons that could replace the ancient, finite hydrocarbons in fossil fuels, according to a team of researchers led by Iowa State University's Jackie Shanks.

Shanks, Iowa State's Manley R. Hoppe Professor of Chemical Engineering, said some plants and algae produce hydrocarbons as a way to store carbon and energy. And those hydrocarbons could be used to create second-generation biofuels.

"These plants are capturing solar energy and creating something that's chemically identical to petroleum," Shanks said.

But, she said, researchers don't know the exact structures, mechanisms, genetics and metabolism of that conversion.

Shanks and a team of researchers recently won a four-year, $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation's Office of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation to study the production of biological hydrocarbons.

The research team includes Basil Nikolau, Iowa State's Frances M. Craig Professor in the departments of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology and food science and human nutrition, who's also the deputy director of the NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals based at Iowa State; Thomas Bobik, an Iowa State associate professor of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology; Gordon Wolfe, an associate professor of biological sciences at California State University, Chico; and Govind Nadathur, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Puerto Rico. The project will also support the research, training and education of a number of post-doctoral researchers, graduate students and undergraduate students at Iowa State and the other universities. And it will provide these young researchers with an opportunity to broaden their training experience with national and international collaborations.

Shanks said the researchers' specific task is to isolate, characterize and bioengineer a catalyst that creates the biological hydrocarbons.

Nikolau said the current project will not address which plants or algae are the best producers of biological hydrocarbons or how the biological process can best be exploited. He said those studies would build on the discoveries of the current project.

But can plants directly produce hydrocarbons for biofuels? Is that too good to be true?

Shanks said the research could lead to technologies that transform how liquid fuels are produced.

And that's the kind of project the science foundation's Office of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation is supporting.

According to the foundation, the office's goal is to support "transformative opportunities potentially leading to: new research areas ; new industries or capabilities that result in a leadership position for the country; and/or significant progress on a recognized national need or grand challenge."

A new, sustainable source of hydrocarbons could lead to all of that: "The production of renewable hydrocarbons that would integrate directly into the existing fossil-carbon infrastructure would represent an important advance in biofuels technology," the researchers wrote in their project proposal. "Transforming this existing industry to a bio-based carbon feed-source is a grand challenge that will need to integrate unique and proficient biological solutions with new engineering efficiencies."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jackie Shanks
jshanks@iastate.edu
515-294-4828
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Iowa State University researcher uncovers potential key to curing tuberculosis
2. Kent State University Professor C. Owen Lovejoy helps unveil oldest hominid skeleton
3. Delaware State U. receives $5 million NASA grant for optics research
4. PyroHands: NC State receives grant to develop next generation firefighter gloves
5. NSF funds states first imaging system for UAB microscale research lab
6. Georgia State researcher to use $1 million grant to improve computer models for fighting wildfires
7. K-State geographer working to clarify what sustainability really means to rural decision-makers
8. Rutgers to collaborate in $3.4 million effort to improve prostate cancer identification using MRI
9. ELISE ID to Power State Driver Registration Search System
10. Aware Software and Development Services Enable State-of-the-Art Fingerprint Card Scanning
11. Scientists find that individuals in vegetative states can learn
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Iowa State researchers looking for catalyst that allows plants to produce hydrocarbons
(Date:6/9/2016)... 2016 Paris Police Prefecture ... security solution to ensure the safety of people and operations ... the major tournament Teleste, an international technology group ... announced today that its video security solution will be utilised ... up public safety across the country. The system roll-out is ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... YORK , June 2, 2016   The Weather ... is announcing Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which consumers ... by being able to ask questions via voice or text ... Marketers have long sought ... the consumer, that can be personal, relevant and valuable; and ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... -- VoiceIt is excited to announce its new marketing ... working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will offer an ... slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, collaboration between ... Both companies ... "This marketing and technology partnership allows VoiceIt ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... UAS LifeSciences, one of the leading manufacturers ... Probiotics, into Target stores nationwide. The company, which has been manufacturing high quality ... list of well-respected retailers. This list includes such fine stores as Whole Foods, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed ... to serve as their official health care provider. ... will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and ... volunteers, athletes and families. "We are ... and to bring Houston Methodist quality services and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... --  EpiBiome , a precision microbiome engineering company, today ... from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The financing will allow ... drug development efforts, as well as purchase additional lab ... been an incredible strategic partner to us – one ... provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes Hammack , EpiBiome,s ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, ... 1 clinical trials of its complement C3 inhibitor, ... and multiple ascending dose studies designed to assess ... of subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... either as a single dose (ranging from 45 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: