2022: Cyan Energy

2022: Cyan Energy

Cyan Energy : Biofuel from Cyanobacteria

Problem 1: General Problem of Biofuels
Even though biofuels provide a number of advantages over fossil fuels, the integration of biofuels to the supply chain must be executed with extra care, in order to minimize potential detrimental disadvantages.

Problem 2: Bio-Aviation Fuel
The global fuel consumption by commercial airlines has been increasing since 2009 [1]. Despite its significant decrease during the pandemic, it is safe to assume that it will only rise again. Furthermore, regardless of its relatively low contribution to CO2 (3.5% of warming, or 2.5% of CO2 emissions), in comparison to other sectors, the key challenge in aviation fuel is difficulties in decarbonizing it. Unlike road transports or power, the aviation sector still heavily relies on fossil fuels. [2]

According to the European Aviation Environmental Report by the EASA (European Aviation Union Safety Agency), current sustainable aviation fuel remains low at less than 0.05% of total EU aviation fuel use. Drop-in SAF will play a key part in decarbonizing the aviation sector as they can be used within the existing global fleet and fuel supply infrastructure. However, so far authorized drop ins are only subject to a maximum blending ratio of 50% with fossil-based jet fuel.[3]

Our contribution to the solution: Cyan Energy

As stated in the European Aviation Environmental Report [3], SAF pathways such as Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA), Alcohols to Jet, Biomass Gasification + Fischer-Tropsch, and Power-to-Liquid (PtL) are expected to play a major role in decarbonization in the short/medium term, and will remain the main contributor for long-haul flights in the long term. Our project is an attempt at optimizing the HEFA pathway by genetically modifying cyanobacteria to increase its CO2 intake to produce branched alkanes, thereby bypassing the first step of the HEFA pathway

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