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Simplifying Reactor Setup for Cell-Free Biofuel Production

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-AR0001661
Agency Tracking Number: 1954-1866
Amount: $246,291.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-08-08
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-08-07
Small Business Information
750 Royal Oaks Drive Suite 106
Monrovia, CA 91016
United States
DUNS: 079629521
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Unavailable
Principal Investigator
 Tyler Korman
 Director of Research
 (949) 306-4417
Business Contact
 Kirsten Torguson
Title: Grants Manager
Phone: (541) 499-0400
Research Institution

Replacing high volume petroleum fuels with renewables could have a significant environmental impact even as energy consumption is projected to increase 28% by 2040. Replacing petroleum fuels, however, is economically challenging as cost is critical in a high volume, low margin market—a challenge that has so far stymied most “New to Market” renewable fuels. Considerable effort has been devoted to rewiring microbes to produce better fuels than ethanol, but so far, microbial engineering approaches for making next-generation fuels have not yet been able to achieve the stringent production parameters required. Invizyne Technologies is seeking to break through biological barriers by going cell-free. In the cell-free approach, we simplify bioconversions by getting rid of the myriad enzyme pathways in the cell and work only with the enzyme pathway we want in a bioreactor. We have developed cell-free systems with production parameters that greatly exceed microbial systems, demonstrating the potential of a cell-free approach. Yet the idea that a cell-free approach could be applied on the scale needed for biofuels is relatively new, and there are still technical challenges that must be addressed to go from concept to reality. In this project, Invizyne seeks to develop a greatly simplified enzyme production and reactor staging method, thereby lowering one of the main logistical barriers to cell-free implementation. The new method will be used to build a streamlined prototype system for converting glucose into bio-isobutanol, a next-generation biofuel and commodity chemical. Our new system will provide a line of sight to commercially competitive biofuel production with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1000 MMT yr in the US alone. The new approach can be generally applied to cell-free systems, enabling the production of many other low-value high-volume chemicals that compete with petroleum products and helping to redefine the possibilities for bioconversion technologies.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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