DOE-Funded Research on Bacterial Enzyme Could Lead to Cheaper Biofuel
|Positive Impact:||A microorganism found in heated freshwater pools may hold the key to more efficient, cost-effective biofuel production.|
|Partners:||National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Bioenergy Science Center, University of Georgia|
|EERE Investment:||$2 million|
|Clean Energy Sector:||Sustainable transportation|
A microorganism found in heated freshwater pools may hold the key to more efficient, cost-effective biofuel production. Researchers at the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that an enzyme known as CelA can digest cellulose almost twice as fast as the leading enzyme currently on the market, and is also effective at breaking down xylan. Digestion of cellulose and xylan (which occur naturally in green plants) is an essential step in converting grasses and other forms of biomass into fuel. CelA is secreted by the bacterium Caldiscellulosiruptor bescii, which was first cultivated on biomass by researchers at the University of Georgia. If CelA continues to perform well in larger tests, it could help significantly reduce the cost of producing biofuel.
The Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) works with a broad spectrum of industrial, academic, agricultural, and nonprofit partners across the United States to develop and deploy commercially viable, high-performance biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower from renewable biomass resources in America to reduce our dependence on imported oil.
Learn more about this topic:
- NREL Finds a New Cellulose Digestion Mechanism by a Fast-eating Enzymea
- Revealing Nature’s Cellulase Diversity: The Digestion Mechanism of Caldicellulosiruptor bescii CelA
- NREL/UGA study finds microbial enzyme digests cellulose ~2x fast as current leading commercial cellulase; implications for biofuels cost.