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Cyanobacteria for Solar-Powered Biofuels

 

Willem Vermaas, professor at Arizona State University, uses cyanobacteria to convert light and CO2 into fuels. The ultimate purpose is to be able to convert solar energy into fuel for transportation to reduce CO2 emissions. Cyanobacteria are a group of very versatile and ancient organisms that can grow under a large range of conditions. Cyanobacteria have a photosynthetic system nearly identical to plants. The Vermaas team at ASU is currently involved in a transformative research effort to develop strains of Synechocystis that can produce and secrete products for use as renewable raw materials for the biofuels and bioplastics industries. This revolutionary new technology is being funded by a grant from a branch of the US Department of Energy, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).