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LBNL Develops Renewable Jet Fuel

Air travel emissions have a huge negative impact on the environment due to greenhouse gas emissions from traditional jet fuel. As a result, there is a high demand for biofuels for aviation use.

According to a recent mailing from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories‘ Intellectual Property Department, researchers at Berkeley Lab have produced a novel jet fuel, prespatane, from the red yeast Rhodosporidium Toruloides. Prespatane is a promising jet fuel – its specific energy and volumetric energy density are higher than traditional (Jet A) fuel. Prespatane’s specific energy is 43.06 MJ/kg which is an increase by 0.61% over Jet A specification. Saturated prespatane has a specific energy estimate of 43.27 which is an increase by 1.1% over Jet A specification. Saturated prespatane has an energy density estimate of 41.46 MJ/L which represents a 18.79% increase over the Jet A median value. Prespatane’s volumetric energy density is 38.9 MJ/L.

This technology developed by scientists at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) at Berkeley Lab offers a high titer of the novel jet fuel, prespatane, by utilizing lignocellulosic biomass, a renewable carbon source. Prespatane was produced in 2 L reactors, reaching 1.17 g/L in one-pot poplar hydrolysate. JBEI continues to optimize the titer of prespatane.

Interested partners should contact LBNL’s Intellectual Property Office.

Codon optimized prespatane synthase from Laurencia pacifica is integrated into the Rhodosporidium toruloides IFO 0880 genome. To improve the sustainability of biofuel production, Rhodosporidium toruloides was treated with lignocellulosic biomass using a one-pot pretreatment saccharification and fermentation process. Lowering biomass loading while increasing duration of boiling during pretreatment resulted in an increase of sugars released from the biomass. Additionally, changing the enzyme cocktail from CTec2/HTec2 to CTec3/HTec3 resulted in a concentration of 77 g/L glucose and 26.6 g/L xylose . In all cases, dense particle suspension was observed when poplar hydrolysate remained unfiltered.

About Tom Breunig (182 Articles)
Tom Breunig is principal at Cleantech Concepts, a market research firm tracking R&D projects in the cleantech sector. He is a technology industry veteran and former international marketing and communications executive who has worked with organizations in semiconductor design, water monitoring, energy efficiency and environmental sensing. He has spoken at numerous technology and energy conferences.
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