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Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 5, pp 2113–2120 | Cite as

Perspectives for the biotechnological production of biofuels from CO2 and H2 using Ralstonia eutropha and other ‘Knallgas’ bacteria

  • Christopher BrighamEmail author
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Abstract

With global CO2 emissions at their highest in several years, mitigation and possibly reduction of greenhouse gas buildup and concomitant production of renewable fuel molecules for growing transportation fuel needs are urgent challenges for renewable energy scientists and engineers. Knallgas bacteria provide a biocatalyst platform for utilization of CO2 and production of diverse and some high-energy density biofuel molecules, requisite for drop-in transportation fuels. The most well-studied Knallgas bacterium, Ralstonia eutropha, has been engineered to produce n-butanol, isobutanol, and terpene molecules under chemolithoautotrophic conditions. There are other representatives of this group of bacteria that potentially have the capabilities for CO2-based fuel molecule synthesis. In principle, fermentative production of biofuel from CO2 could rival the “power-to-gas” (non-biological production of fuels using CO2 and H2) production methods. However, challenges remain for both methods in order to compete with currently priced petroleum-based fuels. With continued streamlining of processes and attention to Industrial Ecology principles, biofuel synthesis by Knallgas bacteria could represent a viable part of a nation’s energy portfolio.

Keywords

Carbon dioxide Dihydrogen Knallgas bacteria Ralstonia eutropha Biofuel 

Notes

Acknowledgements

CJB thanks Prof. Alexander Steinbüchel and the editorial team of Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology for the opportunity to write and publish this work. CJB also thanks Mr. John Quimby and Ms. Jayashree Chakravarty for critical review of the manuscript. Continued thanks to Prof. Anthony Sinskey of Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the opportunity to work on a biofuel production project, which serves as the inspiration for continued interest in this topic.

Compliance with ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Interdisciplinary EngineeringWentworth Institute of TechnologyBostonUSA

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