Creating a butanol bio-factory

Building on
the Photofuel project

We use an organism capable of taking sunlight to convert CO2 and H2O into Butanol with high productivity and carbon efficiency, well proven in laboratory environment.

We have a proprietary concept for cultivation of this organism developed specially for the environment on the Desert Oceans.

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  • Photosynthetic cyanobacteria metabolizing carbon dioxide and water

  • Optimized for producing energy-dense liquid carbohydrates

  • Built in fail-safe mechanism to protect natural life

The Photofuel Project was a research project funded by the EU Horizon 2020 program, to obtain an innovative and cost-efficient alternative fuel from a non-feedstock with a favorable energy balance.

The EU Horizon2020 consortium PHOTOFUEL joined academic and industrial partners from biology, chemistry, engineering, engine design, and lifecycle assessment, making tremendous progress towards engine-ready fuels from CO2 via engineered photosynthetic microbes.

From idea to reality

In the EU funded project PhotoFuel (2015-2020) lead by Volkswagen with a large consortium of companies and research institutions, different ways to use photosynthesis for replacement of fossil resources were investigated.The main topics were conventional sources of biomass, like corn, switchgrass and other forms of plants, but cultivation of weather based organisms were also investigated.

Identifying the ideal form of energy storage

As one part of this project, genetically modified Cyanobacteria was investigated. Different strands of bacteria were made to produce Butanol. Butanol was chosen as the product to be researched because of its suitability as fuel for combustion energizes and for its compatibility with current infrastructure. Unlike Ethanol and Methanol, Butanol could be used in existing cars and trucks, either as a direct plug-in replacement or as a part of a mixture with other hydrocarbons to become a plug-in replacement for diesel and gasoline vehicles.

Some of the many use cases of Butanol

The role of Uppsala University

Uppsala University had long experience of genetic modification of Cyanobacteria for production of different hydrocarbons unsung photosynthesis through the Swedish Solarfuel project and were chosen to perform this research of this path.

What came out of the project

The project succeed in creating organisms with the ability to produce Butanol through direct secretion into the cultivation liquid. The strand  could do this with high productivity and carbon efficiency. The possibility to create large scale cultivation systems were investigated, but only as a land-based system and not with a clear outcome. Land based systems have difficulties to come down in production cost, since the cost of the land used would be significant and keeping temperatures at optimal levels during different weather conditions would be a challenge.

Let's create a more sustainable world
We're on a big mission – to solve the climate challenge and provide solutions for renewable fuels. We're always on the look out for new collaborations and partners.
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