Joule Biotechnologies to produce fuel from CO2 and sunlight

Joule Biotechnologies to produce fuel from CO2 and sunlight

Cambridge-based research firm, Joule Biotechnologies has ambitious plans to use designer microorganisms for producing transportation fuels by converting carbon dioxide and sunlight into a chemical indistinguishable from ethanol.

As per firm's claims the technology named "Helioculture" will be able to produce 20,000 gallons of fuel an acre a year in 2011 by mixing brackish water, nutrients and photosynthetic organisms in flat solar converter panels.

Bill Sims, President and CEO of the company said, "This is the first solar company that is producing liquid fuel as opposed to electrons."

Joule is searching sites near CO2 producers, such as coal-fired electricity plant. The list of potential locations includes sites in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas.

It may be noted here that only last month Senate passed climate legislation, which would cap US greenhouse gas emissions at 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83% by 2050.

Capping the US greenhouse gas emission would be a boon to Joule Biotechnologies business. Joule Biotechnologies has plans to produce fuel at the equivalent cost of less than $50 a barrel.