Genetic modification moves to a new level with a technology to produce bioacrylic under development by OPX Biotechnologies, Boulder, CO. Since beginning pilot scale development in 2009, the company says it has reduced bioacrylic production cost by 85 percent. The target price is $0.50 per pound.
Its proprietary technology, called EDGE (Efficiency Directed Genome Engineering), is said to rapidly develop a microbe and bioprocess. OPX generates mutations that track genes responsible for performance changes. OPX researchers then select genetic changes from a variety of randomly created strains and combine them. OPX claims its technology is 1,000 to 5,000 times faster than conventional genetic engineering methods. Biomass and other feedstocks are used.
OPX has retained Merrick & Company to design its demonstration and commercial manufacturing plants, which are scheduled to become operational in 2011 and 2013, respectively.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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