Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 45 Suppl 1 (Suppl 1), S24-31

From First Generation Biofuels to Advanced Solar Biofuels

Affiliations

From First Generation Biofuels to Advanced Solar Biofuels

Eva-Mari Aro. Ambio.

Abstract

Roadmaps towards sustainable bioeconomy, including the production of biofuels, in many EU countries mostly rely on biomass use. However, although biomass is renewable, the efficiency of biomass production is too low to be able to fully replace the fossil fuels. The use of land for fuel production also introduces ethical problems in increasing the food price. Harvesting solar energy by the photosynthetic machinery of plants and autotrophic microorganisms is the basis for all biomass production. This paper describes current challenges and possibilities to sustainably increase the biomass production and highlights future technologies to further enhance biofuel production directly from sunlight. The biggest scientific breakthroughs are expected to rely on a new technology called "synthetic biology", which makes engineering of biological systems possible. It will enable direct conversion of solar energy to a fuel from inexhaustible raw materials: sun light, water and CO2. In the future, such solar biofuels are expected to be produced in engineered photosynthetic microorganisms or in completely synthetic living factories.

Keywords: Advanced biofuel; Biomass; Photosynthesis; Photosynthetic microorganism; Solarfuel; Synthetic biology.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
An example of development of a cyanobacteria chassis for production of carbon-based volatile direct solar biofuels. Living photosynthetic microorganisms are presently being tailored as designer cells, using synthetic biology tools, to efficiently convert solar energy to a fuel, using only CO2 and water as inexhaustible, cheap and widely available substrates

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 6 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. Bar-Even A, Noor E, Lewis NA, Milo R. Design and analysis of synthetic carbon fixation pathways. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. 2010;107:8889–8894. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0907176107. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Berla BM, Saha R, Immethun CM, Maranas CD, Moon TS, Pakrasi HB. Synthetic biology of cyanobacteria: unique challenges and opportunities. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2013;4:246. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2013.00246. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Cameron DE, Bashor CJ, Collins JJ. A brief history of synthetic biology. Nature Reviews/Microbiology. 2014;12:381–390. - PubMed
    1. EASAC. 2012. The current status of biofuels in the European Union, their environmental impacts and future prospects. EASAC Policy Report 19. http://www.easac.eu.
    1. EASAC. 2013. Planting the future: opportunities and challenges for using crop genetic improvement technologies for sustainable agriculture. EASAC Policy Report 21. http://www.easac.eu.

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback