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05/07/2013

More on Good Tobacco: FOLIUM

Source:  Dan Hawkes

Christer_tobacco2The tobacco-as-biofuel effort led by LBNL (specifically ESD’s Christer Jansson), UC Berkeley, and the University of Kentucky is gaining nationwide press attention. A Los Angeles Times article published last week (April 29, 2013) describes recent progress in this research (see link below). This article follows closely on a more extensive New York Times article (published in March 2013) describing how Jansson, using $4.8 million in ARPA-E funding, hopes to convert hydrocarbon molecules from engineered tobacco directly into a fuel that is practically ready to use as a drop-in substitute for petroleum fuels.

The research consortium Folium (from the Latin word for leaf) headed by Jansson has taken biosynthetic pathways for hydrocarbons from cyanobacteria and algae, and inserted them into tobacco plants. In its first year of work, the consortium produced a crop and then used organic solvents to extract the oils (for fuel) out of the leaves. (The New York Times article includes a video of how this works.)

To read further, go to:

Folium now has a website that describes this work in detail:

www.foliumtobacco.org