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Future bio-fuel


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									Future bio-fuel
Cultivate oil-producing insects
Biologists are now able to create never before existed in the organism. Including the
sugar can be converted into green fuel of the unique bugs. What can produce fuels? At
least one company willing to bet on a new, cleaner gasoline on the traditional.

This picture looks like an oil spill of aerial photos, spherical liquid convergence,
exudation, eventually showing a scene full of mud masonry. I guess may be enlarged,
poisoning seal pups or waterbirds, are dragging their oil soaked hair or feathers.
However, this is a micro-scene images produced by E. coli. In fact, the surface of
what is happening and the situation looks completely different, these small insects are
not submerged in fuel, they are producing oil.
Now see images of biotechnology companies in AMYRIS a computer screen,
AMYRIS California EMERYVILLE. One of the founders of this company, biologists
JACK NEWMAN, led me on a visit. In front of me, these genetically engineered E.
coli, is highly technology-oriented industrial production units, while AMYRIS is with
them put sugar into new gasoline, jet fuel and diesel. In other words, that is, the world
has been using the fuel. AMYRIS is the large number of young biodiesel companies
are superior to their talent and wisdom into green fuel of the future. Can be sure, by
micro-organisms help to fuel the problem vexing the ultimate resolution of ---- or by
Because the situation is like this, now the main alternative to oil is ethanol (an alcohol
substance), but there are many problems, because it will corrode pipes and thus can
not be Bengyun Shu existing facilities to send. According to the University of
Minnesota economist JASON HILL argument, even if all the corn grown in the
United States is transformed into alcohol, we can only replace the 146 billion gallons
annual gasoline use up to 12%. Cellulose ethanol fuel derived from fibrous material,
cellulose contained in plant stems, in very few seeds, though they can solve this
problem, but large-scale production from the existing technology, there is still a long
way away go. In addition, alcohol alone can not achieve the energy density fuel
derived from petroleum.
For this reason consideration of a growing number of scientists turning their attention
shifted to the microbial world, to find out the Xin Fang Fa environmental
requirements to produce high quality of traditional gasoline. If microbes can be
manipulated, the sugar cane into a hydrocarbon fuel, and each new crop absorbed
most of the burning of sugar from the previous crop production in this issue of fuel
and carbon dioxide, then you get a rich , carbon neutral fuel. This sounds a bit
far-fetched, but the evidence in this picture; cell foam around the oily hydrocarbon
pool, form looks like a lava lamp screensavers. "This is the way you save
the world." I asked NEWMAN, "to help save the
world," he corrected me.
Radical, but the actual
NEWMA answer is vivid. He and his colleagues understand that a technology alone
can not solve our energy dilemma. With their mentor, UC Berkeley professor of
Chemical Engineering, JAY KEASLING words, by adding alcohol research scientists
working in the army, as in PI to add a number. As an alternative, AMYRIS fascination
with oil from a different direction: through the use of synthetic biology, an emerging
genetic engineering methods, by transplanting genes from different organisms to
microorganisms, plant materials can be put into hydrocarbon fuel. This project based
on the objective reality: the near future, not all places and get the oil all the time.
However, through many ways, hydrocarbons could play a good role. They can easily
be pumped through the pipeline stations, and rich in energy. After decades of careful
and meticulous transformation and innovation, today's gasoline engines
have become very powerful. If not have to give up, then why are we up?
The problem is, although naturally skilled in the sugar through fermentation into
ethanol, but not good at the sugar into hydrocarbons. But as KEASLING noted,
"We do not have to rely on nature's given us." He
believes we can create something better. So AMYRIS has changed the natural,
adopted amendments to ferment. By adding genes to microorganisms, these genes can
produce different enzymes, thereby establishing a path, can be a series of conversion,
put the sugar into hydrocarbons. They turn an ordinary microbes into a micro-fuel
AMYRIS have completed this work in the laboratory, however, enlarge the scale
experiment to replace the United States, 2 million barrels per day of oil imports, I am
afraid it is another matter.
Obviously AMYRIS in a pleasant manner. November late this afternoon, in the gene
sequence, microarray, microscopy, culture bottles, pipettes, and Weng Weng called the
refrigerator the middle of rows of pumpkins decorated with smiling faces of the
model placed in the table above. Experimental nickname embroidered clothing, such
as "soy" "wild-type." NEWMAN said,
AMRRIS almost like a university laboratory, but there is some difference ---
"Everyone is very happy."
You might expect a start, but since almost all its net worth is its intellectual property
rights, AMYRIS people do not talk about the details involved in their technical
operations, they would not say that they are making really really really molecule is. In
fact, the day I visited them, they were very cautious. When I passed a place
NEWMAN MRI scanners (used to determine the molecular structure) of the
experimental room, I mentioned that I once worked in a chemical laboratory, he
becomes a little nervous, and quickly led me to the next room.
However, I still know so much: to use a device called the power transfer apparatus,
the current through the short hole in the cell wall so that a large number of genes of
other organisms into the cell. GM used for bacteria, so that things can be synthesized
precursor chemicals, including drugs to food additives, to fuel. Thus, these bacteria
change into tiny fuel factories. AMYRIS to gene transfer to E. coli and other
microorganisms, so that they digest from organisms, such as sugar cane in the glucose,
the secretion of hydrocarbons.
Of course, easier said than done. I see AMYRIS the laboratory, many young scientists
in the "interrogation" --- test their microbial organisms
transform the sugar into the fuel situation how, then do some adjustments. Back and
forth process, NEWMAN, said the "idea of a worm, build a bug, test a lot
of bugs."
Test and adjust the computer, mainly through microbiological analysis, because
standing on the shoulders of biologists LANCE KIZER, he pointed to his screen, to
me that every insect in which genes are open, open to what extent. Accompanied with
an up and down the curve, the activity of each gene on the screen. "This is
the bottleneck to solve an important part of the problem." NEWMAN said.
In order to efficiently produce the fuel needed by the need for a rapid conversion of
chemical micro-organisms, while not produce unwanted by-products and toxins,
otherwise these things will be full of or kill cells. KIZER analysis can help determine
to what genetic changes can AMYRIS closer to the ideal they want to
Next, we entered a huge open room, a group of scientists are operating includes the
transformation of micro-organisms and sugar flask, stirring until the oil inclusions
which Huhu fuel oil droplets floating to the surface. AMYRIS researchers carried out
hundreds of times a day for such an experiment.
Finally, we arrive at the "brewery", the room full of exposed
copper pipe, some steel fermentation tanks and a tower as big as the Department
established the Liquid in the side of the barrel. "To understand the
important things, then come here," he said. Here they Gong Yi Zhong Jin
Xing Zhao part of the most Mimi, Ji determined in large-scale cultivation
O'clock Weisheng Wu's Zuoyong effectiveness. The key is to
make the oil beetle tough enough to be able to endure the harsh production of fuel
microorganisms living environment to survive. In the industrial production scale,
because such a large heat of insects were gathered together, microbes to extreme
pressure and high temperature. "When you cultivate microorganisms can
produce expensive drugs, you may need to treat the same good care of their
baby," another partner KINKEAD REILING said, "but for the
production of fuel, the situation is completely different, it is very rough bad, just an
old fermentation tanks, you do not even want to clean this thing, because it will
increase the cost. "
From drugs to fuel
AMYRIS established in 2001, when NEWMAN RENNINGER and REILING
KWASLING Boke Li in the laboratory with postdoctoral fellow. NEWMAN is
studying the biological receptors that detect specific molecular devices appear.
RENNINGER also has KWASLING under the guidance of a PhD, is research focused
on microbial bioremediation ---- clean environment. Every night, RENNINGER,
NEWMAN and REILING group discussions will start to KEASLING house plans.
(Another post-doctoral called VINCE MARTIN will appear, RENNINGER called him
the "fifth of the beetles"), "each of us each bring a
bottle of wine, set a number of not particularly good pizza or Chinese food, drink
FAIR LOAD." RENNINGER said. After a late night time, "the
outcome of these meetings continue to rise, then suddenly crash to the ground
Initially, the group consider using algae produce biological fuel. Soon, however, their
attention to KEASLING laboratory has an ongoing project ---- manufactured using
synthetic biology, known as artemisinin antimalarial drugs. "Of that
technology was really very hot" NEMMAN recalls, "It is
designed to develop the so perfect beyond our wildest imagination."
However, they are still not sure how to scale up production and bring the drug to
market. "Therefore, we propose to GATES Fund for funding the idea of
millions." He said.
The plan reached in 2003, UC Berkeley and AMYRIS and a non-profit called the
Institute of Health in collaboration with a world made a motion. A year later, BILL
& MELINDA GATES Foundation to provide them with a 4 1 000 2 million
funding for the research of artemisinin. AMRYRIS agreed to develop the technology
non-profit manner, "the first year and a half, we just buried consider how
to improve our artemisinin" NEWMAN said. (AMYRIS expected to
submit its artemisinin production technology to a pharmaceutical company.)
With the smooth progress of artemisinin, the team began to consider the second item
---- This time they want to make money. AMYRIS core technology can be used to
create thousands of different molecules, including cheap vitamins, flavors and
fragrances. For some time, the group has the intention of producing a very rash
strawberry flavor, but the idea has no real power.
Then they returned to the bio-fuel. In the film "An Inconvenient
Truth," "AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH" out of a
few months ago, venture capitalists once again became interested in bio-fuel.
Therefore, AMYRIS team sitting in their offices, spread scrap paper and began
outlining the chemical structure of molecules. Goal is to design the
"perfect fuel" elements ---- these stable compounds are not easy
to frosted, each molecule contains enough energy, can be highly efficient, low cost
fuel. Some of the molecular structure of which happens to look somewhat similar, and
artemisinin. As a candidate for the structure at hand, they began to experiment and
transform insects, to create new molecules. Suddenly, AMYRIS into the energy
business area.
The promotion of a gambler
Perhaps with the team than any other member, in RENNINGER body more
representative of an environmental scientist and between a capitalist, in a project like
this ---- this item inevitable conflict more idealistic, full of risk, but has very high
potential profitability. As a horse Province Institute of Technology, a graduate student,
he majored in combustion engines and air pollution control, but he studied
bio-remediation, a dream that one day you can open an energy company. However, he
sometimes put the money to spend to play blackjack on.
1994 RENNINGER joined the infamous MIT Blackjack organization nineties in the
twentieth century and the use of their analysis by calculating poker software VEGAS
away from millions of dollars. In the recruitment of a brother, he started flying
weekend WEGAS, has been gambling until dawn, sometimes disguise. Some
weekends, RENNINGER to the team earn more than 1 million dollars.
NEWMAN like a card shark gill look RENNINGER day, "Ask him how
many were thrown into the trash," NEWMAN in San Francisco a place
called RUBICON course dinner said. "I have not thrown any
trash," RENNINGER said, "On several occasions I was taken to
the Chamber of Secrets. My attitude is, if they discounted my legs, I would sue, so I
will get more than I used to play 21:00 more money. "
I asked him if his attitude and AMYRIS for gambling-related, NEWMAN broke in,
"That's my Jiaru Zhegexiaozu the only reason. I would like
'at least some people know something about Guan Yu
Qian.'" RENNINGER smiled , "a calculated risk, is it?
of course the risk of making you more comfortable." VEGAS There are too
many lessons to teach scientists, he said, "adhere to the concept, you have
been down, and you think you are right track. many times I've lost 10
thousand dollars, immediately or with 10 005 1 000 20 000 gamble. It is a very
common scientific drive. because sometimes things may not have anticipated the
result. "
And "Gene King" contest
Although the biological production of synthetic fuel using the number of relatively
small companies, but the competition is intensifying. OIL GIANT BP and DuPont
have already started using genetically engineered microorganisms to produce a
small-scale alcohol --- butanol.
In 1998 he announced that private funds with sequencing the human genome,
biologists J. treason CRAIG VENTER also join the ranks of the game. 2005
VENTER and NOBEL laureate microbiologist HAMILTON SMITH build synthetic
genomes (SYNTHETIC GENOMICS) company goal is to create the plant material
into bio-fuel to the organism. VENTER likes to say he is from the "gene
into the fuel Wang Wang."
His method of producing fuel followed his idea of creating synthetic life. (January, he
announced that it has produced the world's first synthetic chromosome, if
transferred to a cell, will produce the world's first synthetic life form.) On
the VENTER point of view, and the operation of existing microbial genetics,
compared best to start from scratch to establish a new generation of fuel organisms.
However, in practice before, to create a so-called "minimal"
organisms, may slow his progress in the production of biological fuel.
"Even if he said he had created a synthetic organism, but it can be used to
also take many years." KEASLING explained. "We are creating
the micro-organisms is now available." (VENTER argue that he also uses a
modification of the existing micro-organisms, jet fuel production.)
Modification of the existing strategy of micro-organisms is also LS9, LS9 is located
in San Francisco, California, a small start-up companies, established in 2005, as
AMYRIS as recombinant microbial production of bio-diesel and other fuel (but using
a different chemical pathway). In addition, crude oil is a product of the product before
use need to be sent to refineries. LS9 vice president of research and development,
STEPHEN DEL CARDAYRE, said the company is "actively
enlarge" diesel production, this new lab space in the establishment of pilot
facilities to test large-scale production.
Pilot is a major test of all these companies. "All the biofuels issue is the
scale of the problem," VENTER told me, "We have a very large
scale production, therefore, not so much a biological challenge, more of an
engineering challenge." For example, for industrial scale production, how
to separate fuel and generation of microbial fuel? How to ensure that microorganisms
do not drown in the oil they produce?
An even larger scale problem: a few small bio-fuel companies to replace the United
States each year spent billions of gallons of gas? LS9 CARDAYRE frankly:
"Every company in this space will get more than their most ambitious
goals of success. Exxon will never know."
Whether or not Exxon notes notes, AMYRIS pilot plant will begin this
year's work, this industrial capacity to produce the fuel. With an agreed to
provide him with plenty of cheap Brazilian sugar cane suppliers
"high-level talks", as well as with Costco (COSTCO) and other
companies about possible regional sales early talks, RENNINGER said the plan is the
next 2 to 3 years has been the creation of a sugar to the consumer from the full line
---- First biodiesel, and then jet fuel, gasoline and then (Why the first to market
bio-diesel is another AMYRIS a commercial secret.)
Among the founders, REILING and CEO JOHN MELO together most of the time he
spent in the business details. "I would say is that I am a realist."
REILING said. When asked about details, REILING also tend to be distracted. When
I urged him to tell me that companies in the pilot plant is scheduled to conduct any
kind of trial, and where it will create, he shook her in a chair, with a hint of contented
smile, asked me willing to listen to a Jiaozuo DESOLATE MESSIAH of the CD, is a
heavy metal band from Germany, and this band's name happens to be
AMYRIS. "How do you think of 80S HAIR BANDS like?" He
continued, while CD into his computer which. The following is a sentimental
melancholy songs, which originally could be a denial of MOTLEY CRUE, and I can
speak on appeal, and there can be no correlation with the pilot plant.
However, before I left, he showed me a picture in the office, is a child across the
valley, jump from one cliff to another cliff, child arm extended, head forward.
"He did not even look at the cliff's edge, his eyes beyond the
edge of the precipice." REILING said, "He has the
determination to carry out that 100 percent jump. When you want to pursue something
that you have to to do. "
OF: AMANDA SCHAFFER is SLATE magazine columnist, The New York Times
science page contributor.
Photo captions
P69 Petri plates refinery
P70 idealists AMYRIS of leaders and co-founder JACK NEWMAN

P70-71 transformation of sugar into gasoline a microbial scientists into E. coli genes
of various organisms, and then testing each strain to determine the glucose to fuel the
most efficient strains.
2 bugs in a fermenter cultivation, the scientists cultured the best large-scale cloning
strains. 3 sugar into a special E. coli digest the sugar from plant materials such as
sugar cane 4 bacteria to produce gasoline hydrocarbons secreted as waste, can
produce different hydrocarbon molecules, some may need further refinement.
Modified E.coli transformation of E. coli
E.coli Escherichia coli
Glucose Glucose
Hydrocarbon hydrocarbon
P72 Development of perfect secret microorganisms: figuring out a bug, build a bug,
test a lot of bugs.
P73 at MIT, NEIL RENNINGER dream of creating an energy company. But he spent
a lot of money to play blackjack.
Gamblers AMYRIS co-founder, chemical engineers, 21:00 master NEIL

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