In Sweden, researchers at Uppsala University have successfully produced microorganisms that can efficiently produce the alcohol butanol using carbon dioxide and solar energy, without needing to use solar cells.
This has been presented in a new study published in the scientific journal Energy & Environmental Science. The knowledge and ability to modify cyanobacteria so they can produce a variety of chemicals from carbon dioxide and solar energy is emerging in parallel with advances in technology, synthetic biology, genetically changing them. Through a combination of technical development, systematic methods and the discovery that as more product removed from the cyanobacteria, the more butanol is formed, the study shows the way forward for realizing the concept.
Research at Uppsala University is part of the larger EU Photofuel project (www.photofuel.eu) being coordinated by vehicle manufacturer VW whose aim is to develop the next generation of techniques for sustainable manufacture of alternative fuels in the transport sector.