Biological Generation of Liquid Fuels from Natural Gas
It has been estimated that the proven reserves of natural gas (methane) in the U.S. could, on an energetic basis, sustain the transportation sector of this country for the next 50 years. However, the low energy density of methane necessitates its upgrading to CNG, LNG, or gasoline (through the FT process) for integration with the current infrastructure. These steps are prohibitively expensive, so we are investigating biological processes for the low-cost conversion of methane to drop-in fuels. With funding from ARPA-E’s REMOTE (Reducing Emissions using Methanotrophic Organisms for Transportation Energy) program, we are pursuing several strategies for the conversion of natural gas (methane) to liquid fuel molecules with much higher energy density.