General Atomics, Genomatica win biofuels grants

San Diego-based General Atomics and Genomatica Inc. are among six companies receiving federal grants to fund projects to advance technology and processes in the biofuels arena.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced GA will receive up to $2 million and Genomatica up to $5 million for projects that aim to improve the economics and efficiency of biological and chemical processes that convert non-food biomass feedstocks into replacements for petroleum-based feedstocks, products and fuels, according to a press release.

General Atomics proposed project aims to reduce energy, capital and operational cost for algal fermentation processes. This will increase production of algal oils, which can be further refined into advanced biofuels, the release noted.

Genomatica’s project “will deliver an engineered organism and optimized fermentation process to enable the conversion of cellulosic sugars to the industrial chemical, 1,4-butanediol (BDO). Such technology will enhance the commercial profitability of integrated biorefineries by enabling co-production of high-volume fuels and the higher-margin commodity chemical, BDO,” it continued

In all, up to $36 million will be given to six small-scale projects in California, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin.



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