SBIR Phase I: Bioethanol from Seaweed

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0946147
Agency Tracking Number: 0946147
Amount: $149,568.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: NSF 09-541
Small Business Information
454 North 34th, Seattle, WA, 98103
DUNS: 827807475
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Yasuo Yoshikuni
 (206) 812-1514
Business Contact
 Yasuo Yoshikuni
Title: MS
Phone: (206) 812-1514
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project advances a novel technology that produces biofuels and renewable chemicals from seaweed through microbial fermentation. A microbial platform will produce ethanol from seaweed at a cost significantly lower than the cost of ethanol from corn or Brazilian sugar cane and will produce 80% less greenhouse gases than transportation fuels derived from petroleum. This Phase I project will leverage unique expertise in computational enzyme design and synthetic biology to develop a yeast-based platform that will reduce the costs of fermentation and achieve commercial viability. A yeast-based platform will improve the titer and productivity of ethanol production, while demonstrating the commercial viability of ethanol production from seaweed. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is the domestic production of renewable energy such as biofuels while reducing the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that threaten our climate and environment. To date, domestic biofuels have not been cost-competitive with petroleum, due to a lack of low-cost, scalable sugar sources that do not compete with growing food. Ideal for biofuel production, seaweed is an abundant, scalable, low-cost biomass that actually benefits the environment. Aquafarmed seaweed reduces ocean acidity and eutrophication, while reducing carbon dioxide in the environment. Unlike terrestrial biomass, seaweed does not compete with food crops for land or water use and requires no fertilizer. A yeast system for the fermentation of seaweed will be used by oil and gas companies to produce low-carbon-footprint biofuels near US coastal populations and key oil and gas infrastructure. More than 3 billion gallons of ethanol can be produced domestically from seaweed. This project will maintain the United States' leadership in industrial biotechnology, synthetic biology, and metabolic engineering, while enhancing our knowledge of the use of marine biomass for biofuel production.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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