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News Link • Biofuel

Bacteria brews biofuel with potential to replace high-energy rocket fuel

•, By Bob Guntrip
High-energy, specific-use hydrocarbon fuels such as JP-10 can be extracted from oil, along with more commonly used petroleum fuels, but supplies are limited and prices are high – approaching US$7 per liter. That’s where the new bacterium, engineered by Georgia Tech scientists Stephen Sarria and Pamela Peralta-Yahya, could come in.

By introducing enzymes into the strain of E. coli bacterium a reaction is developed that yields pinene, a cyclic hydrocarbon related to isoprene – a major ingredient of pine resin and a vital precursor to a biofuel that offers an energy density comparable to JP-10.

The biofuel is then produced by "dimerising," or linking together, two molecules of pinene via chemical catalysis.

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