DOE’s ARPA-E awards have been announced, and one of the recipients is the University of Washington team led by Mary Lidstrom, Vice Provost for Research and Professor in Chemical Engineering and Microbiology. Sixty-six projects were awarded $130 million for projects that, “…seeks out transformational, breakthrough technologies that show fundamental technical promise but are too early for private-sector investment. These projects have the potential to produce game-changing breakthroughs in energy technology, form the foundation for entirely new industries, and have large commercial impacts.” The awards support Obama’s goals of, “…solving our nation’s most pressing energy challenges.” Lidstrom’s project description is below.
Biocatalyst for Small-Scale Conversion of Natural Gas into Diesel Fuel
The University of Washington will develop microbes that convert methane found in natural gas into liquid diesel fuel. These microbes enable small-scale gas-to-liquid conversion at lower cost than current methods, which require infrastructure that is too expensive to deploy at smaller scales. Small-scale conversion would leverage abundant, domestic natural gas resources and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.