Blake Simmons, Director of the Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) Division and Chief Science & Technology Officer at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), was featured in a series of online seminars hosted by iBiology.
In his first talk, he provides an overview of the advantages of using biofuels and walks through the biochemical processes required in order to convert biomass into usable fuels. He also discusses the ideal properties for advanced biofuels, the projected markets for these fuels in the coming years, and some of the key challenges associated with optimization of advanced biofuel production.
In his second talk, he reviews makeup of the plant cell wall and how hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin can be broken down for use in aviation biofuel production. He describes JBEI’s approach to maximize carbon efficiency at every step in the production of biofuels, from developing and feedstocks, deconstructing biomass, and use of microbes and enzymes to generate target intermediates for fuels. A major part of optimizing this process is the development of a one-pot process, in which conversion of biomass to fuel can be achieved in a single chamber.