News & Updates

Congratulations Galen Moynihan Th'21

August 5, 2022

MS graduate Galen Moynihan is at Yali Bio working as a bioprocess engineer: "I've run about 30 fermentations since I started so it has been, and is, very busy. I took some time away from fermentation after I graduated, but I'm happy to be using the skills I learned in your lab again."

Read More

Paper published in Energy & Environmental Science

February 9, 2022

Toward low-cost biological and hybrid biological/catalytic conversion of cellulosic biomass to fuels

Abstract: Developing economically viable, scalable, and sustainable technologies for the conversion of lignocellulosic polysaccharides to liquid fuels is widely seen as a centerpiece of the global bioeconomy, and a key part of a multi-pronged approach to achieve carbon neutrality. Here we identify technology challenges and opportunities to achieve this promise.

Read More

Congratulations 2021 graduates!

September 27, 2021

Andrew Allee is now senior associate with RMI's Africa Energy Program (originally called the "Rocky Mountain Institute").

Sanchari Ghosh is a process design engineer at Genomatica in San Diego, CA.


Read More

Paper Published in PNAS

August 24, 2020

Robust paths to net greenhouse gas mitigation and negative emissions via advanced biofuels

Abstract: Biofuel and bioenergy systems are integral to most climate stabilization scenarios for displacement of transport sector fossil fuel use and for producing negative emissions via carbon capture and storage (CCS). However, the net greenhouse gas mitigation benefit of such pathways is controversial due to concerns around ecosystem carbon losses from land use change and foregone sequestration benefits from alternative land uses. Here, we couple bottom-up ecosystem simulation with models of cellulosic biofuel production and CCS in order to track ecosystem and supply chain carbon flows for current and future biofuel systems, with comparison to competing land-based biological mitigation schemes.

Read More

Congratulations 2020 graduates!

February 28, 2020

PhD graduate Mikayla Balch (pictured)—who studied cotreatment of lignocellulose to enhance solubilization in lieu of thermochemical pretreatment—is now a Research Scientist at KnipBio.

PhD graduate Dhananjay ("Jay") Beri (pictured)who focused on enzyme discovery and fermentation optimization for the conversion of corn fiber to ethanol using a thermophilic coculture—is now a scientist with Visolis Inc. in Hayward, CA.

Jingxuan (Lexie) Cui, former graduate student in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program working on metabolic engineering of cellulolytic microbes for production of biofuels, is now an Organism Engineer at Ginkgo Bioworks.


Read More

Paper Published in Nature Sustainability

January 13, 2020

Socio-environmental and land-use impacts of double-cropped maize ethanol in Brazil

Abstract: Agricultural intensification, and particularly double cropping, has been suggested as a practical strategy to reconcile biofuel feedstock production with other land-use priorities. Here we assess ethanol production under conditions representative of current practice in the west central region of Brazil: maize grown as a second crop with soybean on land that formerly grew a single soybean crop, and energy processed from a combined heat and power plant using plantation-grown eucalyptus chips.

Read More

Paper Published in PNAS

November 25, 2019

Technoeconomic and life-cycle analysis of single-step catalytic conversion of wet ethanol into fungible fuel blendstocks

Abstract: Technoeconomic and life-cycle analyses are presented for catalytic conversion of ethanol to fungible hydrocarbon fuel blendstocks, informed by advances in catalyst and process development. Whereas prior work toward this end focused on 3-step processes featuring dehydration, oligomerization, and hydrogenation, the consolidated alcohol dehydration and oligomerization (CADO) approach described here results in 1-step conversion of wet ethanol vapor (40 wt% in water) to hydrocarbons and water over a metal-modified zeolite catalyst.

Read More