E. Coli Use in Biofuel Production

UCLA licenses modification of E. coli bacteria for producing biofuels.

Published on: Jan 9, 2008

UCLA has developed a method of modifying bacteria in E. coli to produce advanced biofuels such as butanol. Gevo, Inc. has acquired an exclusive license from UCLA for use of its method.

"This advanced modification method will enable us to speed up the commercial introduction of advanced biofuels like butanol by several years," said Dr. Pat Gruber, CEO of Gevo, Inc. "In addition, these efficient new pathways raise the possibility of retrofitting existing ethanol plants, at a low capital cost, to produce advanced biofuels. This helps to address one of the major issues in bringing an advanced biofuel to market – capital."

Gevo is trying to develop advanced biofuels that don't have the limitations most first-generation technologies have to address. Butanol is an advanced biofuel that fits the current energy transportation system, doesn't require engine modification for automobiles and strikes a good balance between octane content and low vapor pressure.

"Given that part of UCLA’s mission is to transfer technologies to the commercial sector to benefit the public, we are excited at the prospect that this UCLA-developed technology may play a key role in addressing climate change and energy independence," says Earl Weinstein, Assistant Director at the UCLA office of Intellectual Property.