Creating Diesel from CO2 and sunlight. LINK
There have been some fairly remarkable accomplishments in the push for renewable fuels, but the latest innovation from Joule Unlimited is one of the most jaw-dropping yet.
The company has just been awarded a US patent that covers its conversion of sunlight and waste carbon dioxide directly into liquid hydrocarbons that are fungible with conventional diesel fuel. It is the first company to achieve and patent a process for the production of hydrocarbon fuels that require no raw material feedstocks.
Its first patent is called “Hyperphotosynthetic Organisms” and relates to an engineered photosynthetic micro-organism for fuel production; while the second patent is titled “Methods and Compositions for the Recombinant Biosynthesis of n-Alkanes” and is focused on the use of engineered photosynthetic micro-organisms for the direct synthesis of diesel molecules.
The micro-organisms from Joule work as biocatalysts and use only sunlight, waste CO2 and non-fresh water to produce diesel range hydrocarbons. These are chemically distinct from biodiesel and compatible with existing infrastructure.
This achievement clears the path for large scale renewable fuel production while addressing issues over cost, resource constraints and energy intensive steps that are associated with biomass growth and harvesting. It produces more net energy than it consumes and yields ultra-clean and sulphur-free diesel.
Joule is now expected to begin pilot production by the end of 2010.