Invited Speaker: Petroleum-independent production of chemicals

Written by: Karmella Haynes.

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Kevin Hoff came from Genomatica visited our course to talk about how his company uses microbes to generate commodity chemicals on-demand. He explained that a plethora of commodity chemicals that are used to make 90% of synthetic products, from spandex, to carpet fibers, to piping, spring out as bi-products of extracting gasoline from crude oil. If we could instead produce the commodity chemicals themselves in just the amounts we need, we might rely less on petroleum refinement. Kevin explained that the gene-editing tools provided by synthetic biology enables his company to pivot easily to meet changing demands.


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