Ginkgo BioWorks (Boston, MA) Electron Source – Electric Current (via Formate): The project will engineer a well-studied bacterium, E. coli, to harness electric current to convert carbon dioxide and water into isooctane, an important component of gasoline. DOE award: $6,000,000
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) Novel Semi-Solid Rechargeable Flow Battery: This is a new battery concept that combines the best aspects of rechargeable batteries and fuel cells. It could enable batteries for electric vehicles that are much lighter and smaller – and cheaper – than today’s batteries. This flow battery potentially could cost less than one-eighth of today’s batteries, which could lead to widespread adoption of affordable electric vehicles. DOE award: $4,973,724
Harvard Medical School-Wyss Institute (Boston, MA) Electron Source – Electric Current: This project will engineer a bacterium to be able to use electricity (which could come from renewable sources like solar or wind) to convert carbon dioxide into octanol, an energy-dense liquid fuel. DOE award: $4,194,125
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) Electron Source – Hydrogen and/or Direct Current: This project will engineer two microbes, working together, to convert carbon dioxide and hydrogen into oil, which could be refined into biodiesel. DOE award: $3,195,563
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) Electron Source – Hydrogen: A bacterium capable of consuming hydrogen and carbon dioxide will be engineered to produce butanol, which could be used as a motor fuel. DOE award: $1,771,404
University of Massachusetts Amherst (Amherst, MA) Electron Source – Electric Current: This project will develop a “microbial electrosynthesis” process in which microorganisms use electric current to convert water and carbon dioxide into butanol at much higher efficiency than traditional photosynthesis and without need for arable land. DOE award: $1,000,000
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) Sorbents: A new method known as electrochemically mediated separation (ECMS) will be developed that will lower the energy required to capture CO2 and allow for simpler retrofitting to existing coal-fired power plants. DOE award: $1,000,000
Very cool stuff. Congrats to the winners!