Environmental Health & Safety / Energy Efficiency

Process Harnesses Sunlight To Convert Carbon Dioxide Into Fuel

Source: ChemicalProcessing.com

Jul 30, 2009

Joule Biotechnologies, Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based bioengineering startup that is developing alternative energy solutions, recently unveiled its breakthrough Helioculture technology—a process that harnesses sunlight to directly convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into SolarFuel liquid energy. This eco-friendly, direct-to-fuel conversion is said to require no agricultural land or fresh water, and leverages a highly scalable system capable of producing more than 20,000 gallons of renewable ethanol or hydrocarbons per acre annually.
“There is no question that viable, renewable fuels are vitally important, both for economic and environmental reasons. And while many novel approaches have been explored, none has been able to clear the roadblocks caused by high production costs, environmental burden and lack of real scale,” says Bill Sims, president and CEO of Joule Biotechnologies. “Joule was created for the very purpose of eliminating these roadblocks with the best equation of biotechnology, engineering, scalability and pricing to finally make renewable fuel a reality—all while helping the environment by reducing global CO2 emissions.”

Joule’s Helioculture process leverages highly engineered photosynthetic organisms to catalyze the conversion of sunlight and CO2 to usable transportation fuels and chemicals. The scalable SolarConverter system facilitates the entire process—from sunlight capture to product conversion and separation—with minimal resources and polishing operations, according to the company. This is said to represent a significant advantage over biomass-derived biofuels, including newer algae- and cellulose-based forms, which are hindered by varying obstacles: costly biomass production, numerous processing steps, substantial scale-up risk and capital costs.

For more information, visit: http://www.joulebio.com.