Better Biofuels

Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Better Biofuels

MIT’s Gregory Stephanopoulos is making microbes work harder to make ethanol production more efficient.

By Katherine Bourzac

“…Despite all their attractive benefits, however, biofuels have not been an economically competitive alternative to fossil fuels in the United States because the cost of the processing needed to break down plant starches is not offset by the amount of ethanol produced in the end. Now a group of researchers led by MIT’s Gregory Stephanopoulos, a chemical engineering professor, are working to improve the productivity and robustness of the microbes that convert treated biomass into ethanol. Stephanopoulos has developed a new technology that enables researchers to introduce complex traits into bacteria and yeast — such as the ability to continuously convert sugar into ethanol — and hopes the technology will help turn things around for biofuels.

Full article here

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