Four Berkeley Lab projects were awarded $1 million from the DOE’s Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) to further collaborative research with industry partners on biofuels, bioproducts, energy microgrid technology, and renewable energy technology.
Two projects from the Biosciences Area were awarded funding for research to:
- Enable rapid strain engineering for the production of biofuels and bioproducts from low-cost gas feedstock
Acetogenic Clostridium is considered the most efficient method of converting abundant low-cost gas feedstock into valuable bioproducts, but many Clostridium strains are difficult to engineer. Yasuo Yoshikuni’s team at the DOE Joint Genome Institute recently developed a technology called chassis-independent recombinase-assisted genome engineering (CRAGE), which offers single-step genomic integration and prototyping of complex pathways. The team will be working with LanzaTech, Inc., in Skokie, IL, to adapt CRAGE for acetogenic Clostridium strains to enable rapid prototyping of complex pathways. The goal is to accelerate the cycle of commercial strain development for production of biofuels and bioproducts from low-cost synthetic gas and waste gas feedstock. The project was awarded $250,000 by the TCF.
- Produce a new aviation biofuel precursor from cellulosic biomass
In this project, Taek Soon Lee’s team at the Joint BioEnergy Institute and Novozymes in Franklinton, NC, will combine their state-of-the-art technologies to cost-effectively produce a very promising biologically derived aviation biofuel precursor, isoprenol, from sustainable lignocellulosic biomass. Isoprenol is an intermediate for 1,4-dimethylcyclooctane (DMCO), which has been identified by the U.S. Navy as a promising aviation biofuel. DMCO has multiple performance advantages over Jet-A1, enabling jets to carry more passengers and/or freight per gallon using existing airframes, and to operate engines at higher temperatures and pressures for improved efficiency of new aircraft engines. The project was awarded $250,000 by the TCF.
The Technology Commercialization Fund program managed by the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) offers an opportunity for private industry to partner with DOE’s national labs to advance lab-developed energy technologies and intellectual property toward commercialization. TCF projects require that half of all project costs come from non-federal sources, including industry. More than $33 million was awarded to a total of 82 projects in this FY20 TCF round. Read DOE’s announcement listing all TCF recipients.