Energy and Carbon Optimized Synthesis for the Bioeconomy (ECOSynBio).
ARPA-E announced up to $25 million in funding for a new program, Energy and Carbon Optimized Synthesis for the Bioeconomy (ECOSynBio). ECOSynBio projects will work to develop new forms of scalable biosynthesis platforms to enable carbon-neutral fuels, chemicals, and materials. A robust and sustainable bioeconomy can only be realized through the industrial-scale, carbon-neutral synthesis of fuels, chemicals, and materials. Ethanol biofuel, along with a growing number of other plant-based products, are made almost exclusively via fermentation, the age-old technology that can also produce wine, beer, and cheese. Current methods for ethanol production can waste more than a third of the carbon in the feedstock as carbon dioxide in the fermentation step alone. This waste adds greenhouse gas emissions, limits product yields, and squanders valuable carbon feedstock. Preventing the loss of carbon would revolutionize bioprocessing. The ECOSynBio program will promote the use of advanced synthetic biology tools to engineer novel biomass conversion platforms and systems. These systems will be designed to use external energy inputs to substantially increase carbon use, versatility, and efficiency while achieving economies of scale for industrial applications. Successful platforms will offer new capacities for the bioeconomy by enabling fully carbon-optimized renewable fuel and chemical synthesis with maximum carbon and resource efficiency. Please check out the ECOSynBio program page, as well as the blog by Program Director David Babson, to learn more. The deadline to submit a concept paper for ECOSynBio is 9:30 a.m. ET on October 26, 2020. Additional information, including the full FOA, is available on ARPA-E’s online application portal, ARPA-E eXCHANGE.