The Biofuel Boom: Innovations in Driving for Today and Tomorrow

Producing biofuel is kind of like brewing beer, a practice that’s been around since the Phoenicians and Egyptians first fermented things, according to Bill Haywood, CEO of the San Francisco-based company LS9.  He explains to Sea Change Radio host, Alex Wise, how his company uses gut bacterium E. Coli’s digestion capabilities (which have been around for billions of years) to convert sugar to biofuels and chemicals. The LS9 interview ends asking, where can we drivers actually get these biofuels?  That’s the question that Karri Ving, Biofuel Coordinator for SFGreasecycle, seeks to answer. The program diverts fryer oil from being dumped in San Francisco’s sewers to turn it into biofuels that power the city’s entire diesel fleet.

Bill Haywood describes how LS9, which calls itself a “renewable petroleum company” whose acronym stands for “Life Sciences Company Number 9,” has recently announced breakthroughs in its ability to make cellulosic-derived, advanced biofuels. A collaborative team of researchers from LS9, the University of California at Berkeley, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a microbe that can produce an advanced biofuel directly from cellulosic biomass in a one-step process. Haywood discusses LS9’s sustainable chemicals partnership with Procter & Gamble to help the huge consumer products company reduce the carbon footprint of its products. He also describes the demonstration production facility in Florida that LS9 recently acquired.