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Codexis and Shell are expanding their collaboration on developing non-food based biofuels. Codexis develops what the company calls biocatalysts, the enzymes used to break down cellulose into simple sugar molecules. Codexis and Shell have had a cooperative agreement since 2007 and the expansion will see Iogen Energy participating as well. Iogen is already operating a cellulosic ethanol pilot plant near Ottawa, Canada. The hope is that the work of Codexis will be able to improve the efficiency of

As we know, breaking down long-chain cellulose molecules into individual sugar molecules is problematic on an industrial scale. In nature, of course, this happens all the time thanks to little critters like the Limnoria Quadripunctata, or four spotted gribble. The gribble or sea grub, like numerous other tiny life forms, is able to consume biomass like wood and turn it into something that can more easily be transformed into a liquid fuel.

Aside from metals such as iron, steel and aluminum, perhaps the most common material in cars is plastic. Most of the plastic made today is derived from petroleum. Besides the raw materials used, a lot pf greenhouse gases are produced in the processing of plastics. Bio-materials have been a major research area in recent years including Ford's new soy-foam seats. Researchers from the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute have a developed a class of bioplastics called Polyhydroxyalkanoates that can be pr