Verenium: Discovering the Nature of Energy


'Carbohydrates not hydrocarbons' is the secret nature quietly whispers in our ears when we look around and find all of life uses carbohydrates, starting with plants turning sunlight into sugar. Diversa and Celunol have heard the whispers, and yesterday announced the completion of their merger forming the new company Verenium. Verenium has tasked itself with bringing life's solutions to human industry. Their portfolio of enzyme, protein, and genetic sciences place this company firmly in the field of biology, while their potential products of fuels, plastics, and industrial goods points out the future of human technology - looking to nature for sustainable solutions.

Verenium’s mission is to apply these technological capabilities to achieve industrial sustainability -- meeting the common needs of modern life from carbohydrates (the energy flows that are produced and stored in living biomass) rather than hydrocarbons (fossilized energy stocks that have been stored for countless millennia in the earth’s crust). Verenium’s innovative approach promises dramatic reductions in the carbon footprint of fuels production and other common industrial processes.

Ethanol is one of those things that gets people all sorts of excited these days, and not just drinking it- but burning it. Verenium points out that our hunger for ethanol is growing, and food based ethanol simply can not grow to match our needs. Verenium stops just short of pointing out that our agriculture is based on hydrocarbon inputs (fertilizer, pesticide, transport are oil based)- thus a corn based ethanol is simply another way to burn oil...not in fitting with the sustainability aspects of shifting from hydrocarbon to carbohydrates. Instead, using more complex carbohydrates, such as cellulose as a fuel source gives us a much wider range of possible fuel types- from garbage waste, agriculture waste, to quick growing trees or other biomass.


Verenium’s vision for industrial sustainability, however, goes far beyond biofuels. Today, the company’s unique DirectEvolution technology for the rapid screening, identification and expression of enzymes supports a range of innovative industrial products that efficiently meet high-value commercial needs. The company is engaged in a wide range of industrial collaborations to broaden the reach of its enzymatic technology. Verenium. The Nature of Energy.

Verenium's not only looking to nature for sustainable solutions (using biomimicry), but actively using (and trying to improve) nature for specific applications. Known as bio-assisted technology and bioengineering, the company hopes to expand what is possible.

With a market well into the hundreds of billions, the switch from hydrocarbons to carbohydrates is nothing less than a revolution -The Sugar Revolution. Here is to hoping it is as sweet as is sounds. ::Verenium

Tags: Ethanol

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