Joule catches sunlight to produce chems

It’s 11:20 am EST and twitter is down for more than one hour now — Jeez, I never realized how this social media tool has become very useful to a blogger/reporter/writer like me. Oh, well, at least I have more time to blog for today.

Let me start by introducing this company which, for me, just came out of the blue and generated a lot of buzz the past few weeks. Founded in 2007 by Flagship Ventures, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Joule Biotechnologies claims that their patent-pending Helioculture™ technology can harness sunlight to convert carbon dioxide directly into biofuel or green chemical.

The first time I heard of them I immediately thought about Algenol’s technology, which also produces ethanol by converting algae and carbon dioxide via photosynthesis.

Joule did not mention anything about algae except that they have their “proprietary platform organism” that catalyzes via natural photosynthesis, carbon dioxide and sunlight into fuel and chemicals.

In its July 27 press release, the company said their system is capable of producing more than 20,000 gallons of renewable ethanol or hydrocarbons per acre annually. Joule plans its first product offering, SolarEthanol™ fuel to be ready for commercial-scale development in 2010. A process demo plant for producing hydrocarbon fuel is also expected by 2011.

Whether it has the same technology as Algenol’s or not, development of new biofuel and renewable chemical processing is definitely reaching a new height these days. Good times for green chemistry!



One Response to Joule catches sunlight to produce chems

  1. Cleantechdata 10 August, 2009 at 11:38 am #

    Check out the Joule patent for more info. (US 20090191599 )

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