Renewable production of high density jet fuel precursor sesquiterpenes from Escherichia coli.
ABSTRACT: Background:Aviation fuels are an important target of biofuels research due to their high market demand and competitive price. Isoprenoids have been demonstrated as good feedstocks for advanced renewable jet fuels with high energy density, high heat of combustion, and excellent cold-weather performance. In particular, sesquiterpene compounds (C15), such as farnesene and bisabolene, have been identified as promising jet fuel candidates. Results:In this study, we explored three sesquiterpenes-epi-isozizaene, pentalenene and ?-isocomene-as novel jet fuel precursors. We performed a computational analysis to calculate the energy of combustion of these sesquiterpenes and found that their specific energies are comparable to commercial jet fuel A-1. Through heterologous MVA pathway expression and promoter engineering, we produced 727.9 mg/L epi-isozizaene, 780.3 mg/L pentalenene and 77.5 mg/L ?-isocomene in Escherichia coli and 344 mg/L pentalenene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We also introduced a dynamic autoinduction system using previously identified FPP-responsive promoters for inducer-free production and managed to achieve comparable amounts of each compound. Conclusion:We produced tricyclic sesquiterpenes epi-isozizaene, pentalenene and ?-isocomene, promising jet fuel feedstocks at high production titers, providing novel, sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based jet fuels.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>In an effort to ensure future energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create domestic jobs, the US has invested in technologies to develop sustainable biofuels and bioproducts from renewable carbon sources such as lignocellulosic biomass. Bio-derived jet fuel is of particular interest as aviation is less amenable to electrification compared to other modes of transportation and synthetic biology provides the ability to tailor fuel properties to enhance performance. Specific energy and energy density are important properties in determining the attractiveness of potential bio-derived jet fuels. For example, increased energy content can give the industry options such as longer range, higher load or reduced takeoff weight. Energy-dense sesquiterpenes have been identified as potential next-generation jet fuels that can be renewably produced from lignocellulosic biomass.<h4>Results</h4>We developed a biomass deconstruction and conversion process that enabled the production of two tricyclic sesquiterpenes, epi-isozizaene and prespatane, from the woody biomass poplar using the versatile basidiomycete Rhodosporidium toruloides. We demonstrated terpene production at both bench and bioreactor scales, with prespatane titers reaching 1173.6 mg/L when grown in poplar hydrolysate in a 2 L bioreactor. Additionally, we examined the theoretical fuel properties of prespatane and epi-isozizaene in their hydrogenated states as blending options for jet fuel, and compared them to aviation fuel, Jet A.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our findings indicate that prespatane and epi-isozizaene in their hydrogenated states would be attractive blending options in Jet A or other lower density renewable jet fuels as they would improve viscosity and increase their energy density. Saturated epi-isozizaene and saturated prespatane have energy densities that are 16.6 and 18.8% higher than Jet A, respectively. These results highlight the potential of R. toruloides as a production host for the sustainable and scalable production of bio-derived jet fuel blends, and this is the first report of prespatane as an alternative jet fuel.
Project description:Commercial and military aviation is faced with challenges that include high fuel costs, undesirable emissions, and supply chain insecurity that result from the reliance on petroleum-based feedstocks. The development of alternative gas turbine fuels from renewable resources will likely be part of addressing these issues. The United States has established a target for one billion gallons of renewable fuels to enter the supply chain by 2018. These alternative fuels will have to be very similar in properties, chemistry, and composition to existing fuels. To further this goal, the National Jet Fuel Combustion Program (a collaboration of multiple U.S. agencies under the auspices of the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA) is coordinating measurements on three reference gas turbine fuels to be used as a basis of comparison. These fuels are reference fuels with certain properties that are at the limits of experience. These fuels include a low viscosity, low flash point, high hydrogen content "best case" JP-8 (POSF 10264) fuel, a relatively high viscosity, high flash point, low hydrogen content "worst case" JP-5 (POSF 10259) fuel, and a Jet-A (POSF 10325) fuel with relatively average properties. A comprehensive speciation of these fuels is provided in this paper by use of high resolution gas chromatography/quadrupole time-of-flight - mass spectrometry (GC/QToF-MS), which affords unprecedented resolution and exact molecular formula capabilities. The volatility information as derived from the measurement of the advanced distillation curve temperatures, Tk and Th, provides an approximation of the vapor liquid equilibrium and examination of the composition channels provides detailed insight into thermochemical data. A comprehensive understanding of the compositional and thermophysical data of gas turbine fuels is required not only for comparison but also for modeling of such complex mixtures, which will, in turn, aid in the development of new fuels with the goals of diversified feedstocks, decreased pollution, and increased efficiency.
Project description:With mounting concerns over climate change, the utilisation or conversion of carbon dioxide into sustainable, synthetic hydrocarbons fuels, most notably for transportation purposes, continues to attract worldwide interest. This is particularly true in the search for sustainable or renewable aviation fuels. These offer considerable potential since, instead of consuming fossil crude oil, the fuels are produced from carbon dioxide using sustainable renewable hydrogen and energy. We report here a synthetic protocol to the fixation of carbon dioxide by converting it directly into aviation jet fuel using novel, inexpensive iron-based catalysts. We prepare the Fe-Mn-K catalyst by the so-called Organic Combustion Method, and the catalyst shows a carbon dioxide conversion through hydrogenation to hydrocarbons in the aviation jet fuel range of 38.2%, with a yield of 17.2%, and a selectivity of 47.8%, and with an attendant low carbon monoxide (5.6%) and methane selectivity (10.4%). The conversion reaction also produces light olefins ethylene, propylene, and butenes, totalling a yield of 8.7%, which are important raw materials for the petrochemical industry and are presently also only obtained from fossil crude oil. As this carbon dioxide is extracted from air, and re-emitted from jet fuels when combusted in flight, the overall effect is a carbon-neutral fuel. This contrasts with jet fuels produced from hydrocarbon fossil sources where the combustion process unlocks the fossil carbon and places it into the atmosphere, in longevity, as aerial carbon - carbon dioxide.
Project description:The saturated hydrocarbon bisabolane is a diesel fuel substitute that can be derived from sesquiterpene precursors bisabolene or curcumene. These sesquiterpenes are generated from farnesyl diphosphate in reactions catalyzed by eponymous terpenoid cyclases, but they can also be generated by engineered terpenoid cyclases in which cyclization cascades have been reprogrammed by mutagenesis. Here, we describe the X-ray crystal structure determination of F95Q epi-isozizaene synthase (EIZS), in which the new activity of curcumene biosynthesis has been introduced and the native activity of epi-isozizaene biosynthesis has been suppressed. F95Q EIZS generates ?- and ?-curcumene regioisomers with greater than 50% yield. Structural analysis of the closed active site conformation, stabilized by the binding of 3?Mg2+ ions, inorganic pyrophosphate, and the benzyltriethylammonium cation, reveals a product-like active site contour that serves as the cyclization template. Remolding the active site contour to resemble curcumene instead of epi-isozizaene is the principal determinant of the reprogrammed cyclization cascade. Intriguingly, an ordered water molecule comprises part of the active site contour. This water molecule may also serve as a final proton acceptor, along with inorganic pyrophosphate, in the generation of curcumene regioisomers; it may also contribute to the formation of sesquiterpene alcohols identified as minor side products. Thus, the substitution of polar side chains for nonpolar side chains in terpenoid cyclase active sites can result in the stabilization of bound water molecules that, in turn, can serve template functions in isoprenoid cyclization reactions.
Project description:The genome-sequenced, Gram-positive bacterium Streptomyces avermitilis harbours an orthologue (SAV_3032) of the previously identified epi-isozizaene synthase (SCO5222) in Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2). The sav3032 is translationally coupled with the downstream sav3031 gene encoding the cytochrome P450 CYP170A2 analogous to SCO5223 (CYP170A1) of S. coelicolor A3(2), which exhibits a similar translation coupling. Streptomyces avermitilis did not produce epi-isozizaene or any of its oxidized derivatives, albaflavenols and albaflavenone, under in any culture conditions examined. Nonetheless, recombinant SAV_3032 protein expressed in Escherichia coli catalysed the Mg²+-dependent cyclization of farnesyl diphosphate to epi-isozizaene. To effect the production of epi-isozizaene in S. avermitilis, the sav3032 gene was cloned and placed under control of a copy of the native S. avermitilis promoter rpsJp (sav4925). The derived expression construct was introduced by transformation into a large-deletion mutant of S. avermitilis SUKA16 and the resulting transformants accumulated epi-isozizaene. The previously characterized oxidized epi-isozizaene metabolites (4R)- and (4S)-albaflavenols and albaflavenone, as well as a previously undescribed doubly oxidized epi-isozizaene derivative were isolated from cultures of S. avermitilis SUKA16 transformants in which sav3032 was coexpressed with the P450-encoding sav3031. This new metabolite was identified as 4?,5?-epoxy-2-epi-zizaan-6?-ol which is most likely formed by oxidation of (4S)-albaflavenol.
Project description:Presented here is an overview of non-volatile particulate matter (nvPM) emissions, i.e. "soot" as assessed by TEM analyses of samples collected after the exhaust of a J-85 turbojet fueled with Jet-A as well as with blends of Jet-A and Camelina biofuel. A unifying explanation is provided to illustrate the combustion dynamics of biofuel and Jet-A fuel. The variation of primary particle size, aggregate size and nanostructure are analyzed as a function of biofuel blend across a range of engine thrust levels. The postulate is based on where fuels start along the soot formation pathway. Increasing biofuel content lowers aromatic concentration while placing increasing dependence upon fuel pyrolysis reactions to form the requisite concentration of aromatics for particle inception and growth. The required "kinetic" time for pyrolysis reactions to produce benzene and multi-ring PAHs allows increased fuel-air mixing by turbulence, diluting the fuel-rich soot-forming regions, effectively lowering their equivalence ratio. With a lower precursor concentration, particle inception is slowed, the resulting concentration of primary particles is lowered and smaller aggregates were measured. The lower equivalence ratio also results in smaller primary particles because of the lower concentration of growth species.
Project description:BackgroundThe hydrotreatment of oleochemical/lipid feedstocks is currently the only technology that provides significant volumes (millions of litres per year) of “conventional” biojet/sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). However, if biojet fuels are to be produced in sustainably sourced volumes (billions of litres per year) at a price comparable with fossil jet fuel, biomass-derived “advanced” biojet fuels will be needed. Three direct thermochemical liquefaction technologies, fast pyrolysis, catalytic fast pyrolysis and hydrothermal liquefaction were assessed for their potential to produce “biocrudes” which were subsequently upgraded to drop-in biofuels by either dedicated hydrotreatment or co-processed hydrotreatment.ResultsA significant biojet fraction (between 20.8 and 36.6% of total upgraded fuel volume) was produced by all of the processes. When the fractions were assessed against general ASTM D7566 specifications they showed significant compliance, despite a lack of optimization in any of the process steps. When the life cycle analysis GHGenius model was used to assess the carbon intensity of the various products, significant emission reductions (up to 74%) could be achieved.ConclusionsIt was apparent that the production of biojet fuels based on direct thermochemical liquefaction of biocrudes, followed by hydrotreating, has considerable potential.
Project description:Terpene synthases are widely distributed among microorganisms and have been mainly studied in members of the genus <i>Streptomyces</i>. However, little is known about the distribution and evolution of the genes for terpene synthases. Here, we performed whole-genome based phylogenetic analysis of <i>Streptomyces</i> species, and compared the distribution of terpene synthase genes among them. Overall, our study revealed that ten major types of terpene synthases are present within the genus <i>Streptomyces</i>, namely those for geosmin, 2-methylisoborneol, <i>epi</i>-isozizaene, 7-<i>epi</i>-?-eudesmol, <i>epi</i>-cubenol, caryolan-1-ol, cyclooctat-9-en-7-ol, isoafricanol, pentalenene and ?-amorphene. The <i>Streptomyces</i> species divide in three phylogenetic groups based on their whole genomes for which the distribution of the ten terpene synthases was analysed. Geosmin synthases were the most widely distributed and were found to be evolutionary positively selected. Other terpene synthases were found to be specific for one of the three clades or a subclade within the genus <i>Streptomyces</i>. A phylogenetic analysis of the most widely distributed classes of <i>Streptomyces</i> terpene synthases in comparison to the phylogenomic analysis of this genus is discussed.
Project description:Emissions and size distributions of 28 particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from residential combustion of 19 fuels in a domestic cooking stove in rural China were studied. Measured emission factors of total PAHs were 1.79±1.55, 12.1±9.1, and 5.36±4.46 mg/kg for fuel wood, brushwood, and bamboo, respectively. Approximate 86.7, 65.0, and 79.7% of the PAHs were associated with fine particulate matter with size less than 2.1 µm for these three types of fuels. Statistically significant difference in emission factors and size distributions of particle-bound PAHs between fuel wood and brushwood was observed, with the former had lower emission factors but more PAHs in finer PM. Mass fraction of the fine particles associated PAHs was found to be positively correlated with fuel density and moisture, and negatively correlated with combustion efficiency. Low and high molecular weight PAHs segregated into the coarse and fine PM, respectively. The high accumulation tendency of the PAHs from residential wood combustion in fine particles implies strong adverse health impact.
Project description:Herein, a supersonic combustion coherent jet is proposed based on current coherent jet technology to improve the impact capacity of a coherent jet and increase the stirring intensity of the electric arc furnace (EAF) bath. Further, numerical simulations and an experimental analysis are combined to study the supersonic combustion coherent jet characteristics, including the Mach number, dynamic pressure, static temperature, vorticity, and turbulence intensity, in the EAF steelmaking environment. The results show that the supersonic combustion coherent jet exhibits stable combustion in a high-temperature EAF steelmaking environment. The supersonic combustion flame generated by the supersonic shrouding fuel gas can envelop the main oxygen jet more effectively than current coherent jets. Furthermore, the velocity attenuation, vorticity, and turbulence intensity performances of the supersonic combustion coherent jet are better when compared with those of the current coherent jet. The velocity core length of the main oxygen jet for the supersonic combustion coherent jet is 30% longer than that of the current coherent jet, resulting in an improved impact capacity and stirring intensity of the molten bath.