Matrix discovers methods for producing biofuels in cyanobacteria

The global market for transportation fuel was 16.8 billion barrels in 2007 and is expected to grow to 24.5 billion barrels in 2035 (DOE Annual Energy Outlook). Despite the current low costs for petroleum fuel, long term demand is expected to be high. And for the petroleum industry, all the “cheap” oil has been discovered.

While the cost curve for petrofuel discovery and extraction continues to rise, the cost curve for algae-derived biofuels must fall if they are to be competitive with fossil fuels in the near term, and if they are to provide a long term solution to our energy needs.

Cyanobacteria are the most photosynthetically efficient organisms on earth. However, their usefulness in producing biofuels has been limited by the fact that they naturally produce less oil than do plants or algae.

Matrix has invented and patented the only known processes that produce large amounts of valuable biofuel oils inside of cyanobacteria. Matrix has two programs, one for producing triglycerides and another for producing wax esters. These programs use the methods of synthetic biology and pathway engineering, and have increased by 400% the amount of oils made by cyanobacteria.

The rate of oil production by our cyanobacteria strains now exceeds that of other photosynthetic organisms, including other types of algae and terrestrial oil seed crops. Matrix has partnered with a major international energy company to use our strains of cyanobacteria for the large-scale production of biofuels.