The federal Advanced Research Projects Agency on Thursday announced a $1.5 million grant to fund UCD research into the conversion of ethylene to butanol.
The grant was one of 33 totaling about $66 million to support either cost-effective and energy-efficient manufacturing techniques to process and recycle metals for lightweight vehicles or technologies that can convert natural gas to liquid fuel for transportation.
UCD will attempt to use bacteria to convert ethylene, commonly used by the chemical and plastic industries, into a cost-effective fuel that is compatible with existing infrastructure, according to a news release. Currently, ethylene cannot be converted into fuel economically.
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, praised UCD’s selection.
“If this biofuel research is successful, the result will be a cleaner and healthier planet, a more sustainable economy for the United States, and a competitive advantage for energy and agricultural companies throughout Northern California,” he said. “This is a big win for the Sacramento Valley.”
The ARPA, part of the Department of Energy, funded five other California projects, by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ($3.5 million); UCLA ($3 million); Palo Alto Research Center Inc., a Xerox company based in Palo Alto ($999,129); and nonprofit SRI International ($907,853) and Calysta Energy ($797, 646), both of Menlo Park.
The size of the grants will be settled by negotiation.