Startup Highlight: LS9, Inc.

LS9 is developing technology for renewable, cost effective, and domestically produced biofuels. They have a simple moto, “The best replacement for petroleum is petroleum“. With the goal of a fuel that is chemically identical to petroleum to allow broad and rapid adoption in mind, LS9 has developed Renewable Petroleumâ„¢ technologies.

LS9 has developed a new means of efficiently converting fatty acid intermediates into petroleum replacement products via fermentation of renewable sugars. LS9 has also discovered and engineered a new class of enzymes and their associated genes to efficiently convert fatty acids into hydrocarbons. LS9 believes this pathway is the most cost, resource, and energy-efficient way to produce hydrocarbon biofuels and petroleum-replacement products. This translates into efficient land and feedstock use and directly addresses tensions between food versus fuel production.

Technology schematic

Essentially, LS9 has genetically engineered microbes to feed on a diverse set of sugars to produce petroleum hydrocarbons. Because of their foundations in systems biology, LS9 can modify their proprietary microbes to generate structurally diverse petroleum molecules for a variety of applications, such as gasoline, jet fuel, etc. In addition to the benefits implied in “renewable”, “low cost”, and “domestic” fuels, the biofuel produced by LS9 is free of carcinogens like benzene as well as pollutants such as sulfates and nitrates (source of ‘smog’).

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