Development of a novel biocatalytic fatty acid decarboxylation technology for production of liquid biofuels

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2013-00050
Agency Tracking Number: 2013-00050
Amount: $99,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2013
Solicitation Year: 2013
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.8
Solicitation Number: USDA-NIFA-SBIR-003848
Small Business Information
2574 BEDFORD RD, ANN ARBOR, MI, 48104-4008
DUNS: 830576703
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jeffrey Kittendorf
 Vice President
 (734) 276-4921
Business Contact
 Jeffrey Kittendorf
Title: Vice President
Phone: (734) 276-4921
Research Institution
Throughout the past decade, there has been increasing urgency to develop novel technologies for alternative energy sources. This is being driven by the consequential relationships of increased global consumption, rapidly diminishing fossil fuel reserves, growing national energy security concerns, and geopolitical factors, all of which translate into high oil prices for the end consumer. In addition, increasing greenhouse gas emissions render the development of fossil fuel alternatives both a top national and global priority as a means to curb climate change. Accordingly, industrial biotechnology is poised to play a significant role in establishing technological advances for the economical and sustainable production of next generation fuels that can satisfy worldwide energy demands while reducing environmental impact. Indeed, over the past decade biomass based fuels, such as bioethanol and biodiesel, have emerged as some of the most promising options to replace modern liquid transportation fuels. However, despite their potential, neither of these energy products is ideally suited to directly and totally replace current transportation fuels. Thus, additional research and development efforts are required to identify and advance innovative technologies that can offer a sustainable source of energy to complement and eventually replace fossil fuel based transportation energy sources. One promising solution is the conversion of free fatty acid substrates into high-energy hydrocarbon products for formulation of biofuels that are chemically identical to currently employed transportation fuels. This conversion requires removal of oxygen atoms via decarboxylation of free fatty acid substrates, an energy demanding procedure that is not yet available for the cost effective, industrial scale processing of liquid fuels. To facilitate efficient and economical hydrocarbon production from free fatty acids, Alluvium is engineering an innovative fatty acid biosynthetic pathway that integrates a novel biocatalytic decarboxylation biotechnology to ultimately achieve bio-hydrocarbon production in an algal or microbial host organism of choice. The facilitation of technological development aimed at advancing alternative and renewable energy is a key priority research area that has been described by the United States Department of Agriculture, and Alluviums efforts in developing a novel biocatalytic decarboxylation technology to convert free fatty acid feedstocks into bio-hydrocarbons for bio-derived liquid fuels fits well within this objective. Following optimization, Alluvium anticipates that manufacturing scale industrial fermentation of the resultant genetically engineered organism can provide a sustainable source of hydrocarbons for formulation into transportation energy. Once fully developed, Alluviums biofuel technology will lead to a renewable source of bio-hydrocarbons that can be harvested and formulated into biofuels to help meet future global transportation energy needs. Accordingly, this novel technology holds the potential to be paradigm shifting and significantly impact production of modern day transportation fuels.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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