Sustainable transportation fuels
Carbon negative biorefineries
Biofuel process development and scale-up
Taek Soon Lee is the director of Pathway and Metabolic Engineering at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and a staff scientist in the Biosciences Area. His research focuses on identifying potential drop-in biofuels and building and optimizing the metabolic pathway to produce these target fuels in microbes.
Deepika Awasthi is a project scientist in the Biological Systems and Engineering Division and in the Microbial & Enzyme Discovery group at JBEI. Her research focuses on bioenergy and biomanufacturing by combining synthetic biology and metabolic engineering to develop microbial systems for better utilization of biomass and gaseous one-carbon substrates.
Eric Sundstrom is a staff scientist within the Biosciences Area and leader of the fermentation team within the Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts Process Development Unit (ABPDU). His research focuses on process development, integration, and scale-up for biomanufacturing, including development of sustainable aviation fuels and utilization of gaseous feedstocks.
Every year, airplanes crisscrossing U.S. skies burn 23 billion gallons of fuel, leaving contrails and 8% of the nation’s transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions in their wake. A recent study reveals which crop-based feedstocks offer the greatest potential for a plentiful, cost-competitive, renewable alternative to petroleum-based jet fuel, while also maximizing atmospheric carbon removal.
Bioscientist Anne Villacastin is using genetics to supercharge the growing power of sorghum, a cereal plant that humans have been cultivating for millennia. By adding genes from wheat, Villacastin and her colleagues at the Joint BioEnergy Institute are making sorghum strains that grow tall and robust with very little water, so farmers can produce large quantities of the crop at low cost and low environmental impact. In the near future, this sorghum could bolster global food supplies and serve as a carbon source for the production of affordable biofuels, which can help mitigate fossil-fuel driven climate change.