Navigation Links
Dartmouth researchers advance cellulosic ethanol production

Hanover, NH A team of researchers from Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering and Mascoma Corporation in Lebanon, N.H., have made a discovery that is important for producing large quantities of cellulosic ethanol, a leading candidate for a sustainable and secure alternative to petroleum-derived transportation fuel. For the first time, the group has genetically engineered a thermophilic bacterium, meaning it's able to grow at high temperatures, and this new microorganism makes ethanol as the only product of its fermentation.

The study was published online during the week of Sept. 8, 2008 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

"Our discovery is one potential avenue for research to facilitate turning inedible cellulosic biomass, including wood, grass, and various waste materials, into ethanol," says Lee Lynd, the Paul E. and Joan H. Queneau Distinguished Professor in Environmental Engineering Design at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth. "In the near term, the thermophilic bacterium we have developed is advantageous, because costly cellulase enzymes typically used for ethanol production can be augmented with the less expensive, genetically engineered new organism."

Lynd explains that this discovery is only the first step, a proof of concept, for future development of ethanol-producing microbes that can make ethanol from cellulosic biomass without adding enzymes. Lynd is the corresponding author on the study and the chief scientific officer and co-founder of Mascoma Corporation, a company working to develop processes to make cellulosic ethanol.

All of the ethanol currently used in this country as an additive to gasoline comes from corn. However, it is widely recognized that cellulosic biomass has significant advantages over corn as a raw material for ethanol production, provided that a cost-effective technology for converting cellulosic materials can be developed.

There are several features that make cellulosic ethanol attractive. The raw material, cellulosic biomass, is available on a large scale, does not include food crops, and is cost-competitive with petroleum on both an energy and a mass basis. The technology to convert cellulosic biomass to ethanol is steadily improving, and it also has the potential to be cost-competitive with gasoline production. Environmental benefits include a sustainable carbon cycle with near-zero net greenhouse gas emissions, because the carbon dioxide captured growing the biomass roughly equals what is emitted while running an engine. In addition, ethanol has excellent performance and compatibility with existing internal combustion engines as well as fuel cell-powered vehicles of the future.

Innovative technology for ethanol production from cellulosic raw materials has been a central focus of Lynd's, who won the inaugural Lemelson-MIT Sustainability Award in 2007, a top honor for inventors.

"I'm not sure if it was a good or a bad sign that I knew alternative energy would be so important today when I started this work 30 years ago," says Lynd. "At that time, tools of molecular biology were in a nascent state of development. Now we can make much faster progress, and I anticipate more exciting advances soon."


Contact: Sue Knapp
Dartmouth College

Related biology technology :

1. Researchers decode viral process that prepares cells for HIV infection
2. Understanding the science of solar-based energy: more researchers are better than one
3. Penn researchers demonstrate a flexible, 1-step assembly of nanoscale structures
4. Argonne researchers win 2 R&D 100 Awards
5. Silicon photonic crystals key to optical cloaking, researchers say
6. LLNL researchers peer into water in carbon nanotubes
7. HistoRx Announces Expanded Access of AQUA(R) Technology to 900+ Researchers at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center
8. First Annual Autism Conference at Packard Childrens and Stanford Brings Parents and Researchers Together
9. Researchers bring new meaning to the term computer bug
10. By adding graphene, researchers create superior polymer
11. Researchers Document Rapid, Dramatic Reverse Evolution in the Threespine Stickleback Fish
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS; ... and prospects remain fundamentally strong and highlights the ... recently received DSMB recommendation to continue the ZoptEC ... of the final interim efficacy and safety data ... in men with heavily pretreated castration- and Taxane-resistant ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds the third-largest share ... The trend of outsourcing to low-cost locations is ... volume share for the region in the short ... in the CRO industry will improve. ... ), finds that the market earned revenues ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Copper ... unless it is bound to proteins, copper is also toxic to cells. With ... Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a systematic study of copper in the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... This fall, global software solutions leader SAP and AdVenture ... develop and pitch their BIG ideas to improve health and wellness in their schools. ... to win the title of SAP's Teen Innovator, an all-expenses paid trip to Super ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/17/2015)... Paris from 17 th until 19 th ... from 17 th until 19 th November 2015.   ... the first combined scanner in the world which scans both ... two different scanners were required: one for passports and one ... same surface. This innovation is an ideal solution for electronic ...
(Date:11/16/2015)... , Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics Inc. ... human interface solutions, today announced expansion of its ... ™ touch controller and display driver integration ... of smartphones. These new TDDI products add to ... (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 (FHD ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology company that ... announce that it will be a Sponsor of the ... held November 17-19 in Hamburg , Germany.  ... iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven and affordable eClinical ... able to deliver time and cost savings of up to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):