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    Dutch researcher Bas Bougie has developed a laser system to investigate soot development in diesel engines. Small soot particles are not retained by a soot filter but are, however, more harmful than larger soot particles. Therefore, soot development needs to be tackled at the source. Laser Induced Incandescence is a technique that reveals exactly where soot is generated and can be used by project partners to develop cleaner diesel engines. Terry Meyer, an Iowa State University assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is using similar laser technology to develop advanced sensors capable of screening the combustion behavior and soot characteristics specifically of biofuels. Eurekalert and - December 7, 2007.

    Lithuania's first dedicated biofuel terminal has started operating in Klaipeda port. At the end of November 2007, the stevedoring company Vakaru krova (VK) started activities to manage transshipments. The infrastructure of the biodiesel complex allows for storage of up to 4000 cubic meters of products. During the first year, the terminal plans to transship about 70.000 tonnes of methyl ether, after that the capacities of the terminal would be increased. Investments to the project totaled €2.3 million. Agrimarket - December 5, 2007.

    New Holland supports the use of B100 biodiesel in all equipment with New Holland-manufactured diesel engines, including electronic injection engines with common rail technology. Overall, nearly 80 percent of the tractor and equipment manufacturer's New Holland-branded products with diesel engines are now available to operate on B100 biodiesel. Tractor and equipment maker John Deere meanwhile clarified its position for customers that want to use biodiesel blends up to B20. Grainnet - December 5, 2007.

    According to Wetlands International, an NGO, the Kyoto Protocol as it currently stands does not take into account possible emissions from palm oil grown on a particular type of land found in Indonesia and Malaysia, namely peatlands. Mongabay - December 5, 2007.

    Malaysia's oil & gas giant Petronas considers entering the biofuels sector. Zamri Jusoh, senior manager of Petronas' petroleum development management unit told reporters "of course our focus is on oil and gas, but I think as we move into the future we cannot ignore the importance of biofuels." AFP - December 5, 2007.

    In just four months, the use of biodiesel in the transport sector has substantially improved air quality in Metro Manila, data from the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) showed. A blend of one percent coco-biodiesel is mandated by the Biofuels Act of 2007 which took effect last May. By 2009, it would be increased to two percent. Philippine Star - December 4, 2007.

    Kazakhstan will next year adopt laws to regulate its fledgling biofuel industry and plans to construct at least two more plants in the next 18 months to produce environmentally friendly fuel from crops, industry officials said. According to Akylbek Kurishbayev, vice-minister for agriculture, he Central Asian country has the potential to produce 300,000 tons a year of biodiesel and export half. Kazakhstan could also produce up to 1 billion liters of bioethanol, he said. "The potential is huge. If we use this potential wisely, we can become one of the world's top five producers of biofuels," Beisen Donenov, executive director of the Kazakhstan Biofuels Association, said on the sidelines of a grains forum. Reuters - November 30, 2007.

    SRI Consulting released a report on chemicals from biomass. The analysis highlights six major contributing sources of green and renewable chemicals: increasing production of biofuels will yield increasing amounts of biofuels by-products; partial decomposition of certain biomass fractions can yield organic chemicals or feedstocks for the manufacture of various chemicals; forestry has been and will continue to be a source of pine chemicals; evolving fermentation technology and new substrates will also produce an increasing number of chemicals. Chemical Online - November 27, 2007.

    German industrial conglomerate MAN AG plans to expand into renewable energies such as biofuels and solar power. Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said services unit Ferrostaal would lead the expansion. Reuters - November 24, 2007.

    Analysts think Vancouver-based Ballard Power Systems, which pumped hundreds of millions and decades of research into developing hydrogen fuel cells for cars, is going to sell its automotive division. Experts describe the development as "the death of the hydrogen highway". The problems with H2 fuel cell cars are manifold: hydrogen is a mere energy carrier and its production requires a primary energy input; production is expensive, as would be storage and distribution; finally, scaling fuel cells and storage tanks down to fit in cars remains a huge challenge. Meanwhile, critics have said that the primary energy for hydrogen can better be used for electricity and electric vehicles. On a well-to-wheel basis, the cleanest and most efficient way to produce hydrogen is via biomass, so the news is a set-back for the biohydrogen community. But then again, biomass can be used more efficiently as electricity for battery cars. Canada.com - November 21, 2007.

    South Korea plans to invest 20 billion won (€14.8/$21.8 million) by 2010 on securing technologies to develop synthetic fuels from biomass, coal and natural gas, as well as biobutanol. 29 private companies, research institutes and universities will join this first stage of the "next-generation clean energy development project" led by South Korea's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. Korea Times - November 19, 2007.

    OPEC leaders began a summit today with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez issuing a chilling warning that crude prices could double to US$200 from their already-record level if the United States attacked Iran or Venezuela. He urged assembled leaders from the OPEC, meeting for only the third time in the cartel's 47-year history, to club together for geopolitical reasons. But the cartel is split between an 'anti-US' block including Venezuela, Iran, and soon to return ex-member Ecuador, and a 'neutral' group comprising most Gulf States. France24 - November 17, 2007.

    The article "Biofuels: What a Biopact between North and South could achieve" published in the scientific journal Energy Policy (Volume 35, Issue 7, 1 July 2007, Pages 3550-3570) ranks number 1 in the 'Top 25 hottest articles'. The article was written by professor John A. Mathews, Macquarie University (Sydney, Autralia), and presents a case for a win-win bioenergy relationship between the industrialised and the developing world. Mathews holds the Chair of Strategic Management at the university, and is a leading expert in the analysis of the evolution and emergence of disruptive technologies and their global strategic management. ScienceDirect - November 16, 2007.

    Timber products company China Grand Forestry Resources Group announced that it would acquire Yunnan Shenyu New Energy, a biofuels research group, for €560/$822 million. Yunnan Shenyu New Energy has developed an entire industrial biofuel production chain, from a fully active energy crop seedling nursery to a biorefinery. Cleantech - November 16, 2007.

    Northern European countries launch the Nordic Bioenergy Project - "Opportunities and consequences of an expanding bio energy market in the Nordic countries" - with the aim to help coordinate bioenergy activities in the Nordic countries and improve the visibility of existing and future Nordic solutions in the complex field of bioenergy, energy security, competing uses of resources and land, regional development and environmental impacts. A wealth of data, analyses and cases will be presented on a new website - Nordic Energy - along with announcements of workshops during the duration of project. Nordic Energy - November 14, 2007.

    Global Partners has announced that it is planning to increase its refined products and biofuels storage capacity in Providence, Rhode Island by 474,000 barrels. The partnership has entered into agreements with New England Petroleum Terminal, at a deepwater marine terminal located at the Port of Providence. PRInside - November 14, 2007.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) kicks off the meeting in Valencia, Spain, which will result in the production of the Synthesis Report on climate change. The report will summarize the core findings of the three volumes published earlier by the separate working groups. IPCC - November 12, 2007.

    Biopact's Laurens Rademakers is interviewed by Mongabay on the risks of large-scale bioenergy with carbon storage (BECS) proposals. Even though Biopact remains positive about BECS, because it offers one of the few safe systems to mitigate climate change in a drastic way, care must be take to avoid negative impacts on tropical forests. Mongabay - November 10, 2007.

    According to the latest annual ranking produced by The Scientist, Belgium is the world's best country for academic research, followed by the U.S. and Canada. Belgium's top position is especially relevant for plant, biology, biotechnology and bioenergy research, as these are amongst the science fields on which it scores best. The Scientist - November 8, 2007.

    Mascoma Corporation, a cellulosic ethanol company, today announced the acquisition of Celsys BioFuels, Inc. Celsys BioFuels was formed in 2006 to commercialize cellulosic ethanol production technology developed in the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering at Purdue University. The Celsys technology is based on proprietary pretreatment processes for multiple biomass feedstocks, including corn fiber and distiller grains. The technology was developed by Dr. Michael Ladisch, an internationally known leader in the field of renewable fuels and cellulosic biofuels. He will be taking a two-year leave of absence from Purdue University to join Mascoma as the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Business Wire - November 7, 2007.

    Bemis Company, Inc. announced today that it will partner with Plantic Technologies Limited, an Australian company specializing in starch-based biopolymers, to develop and sell renewably resourced flexible films using patented Plantic technology. Bemis - November 7, 2007.

    Hungary's Kalocsa Hõerõmû Kft is to build a HUF 40 billion (€158.2 million) straw-fired biomass power plant with a maximum capacity of 49.9 megawatts near Kalocsa in southern Hungary. Portfolio Hungary - November 7, 2007.

    Canada's Gemini Corporation has received approval to proceed into the detailed engineering, fabrication and construction phases of a biogas cogeneration facility located in the Lethbridge, Alberta area, the first of its kind whereby biogas production is enhanced through the use of Thermal Hydrolysis technology, a high temperature, high pressure process for the safe destruction of SRM material from the beef industry. The technology enables a facility to redirect waste material, previously shipped to landfills, into a valuable feedstock for the generation of electricity and thermal energy. This eliminates the release of methane into the environment and the resultant solids are approved for use as a land amendment rather than re-entering the waste stream. In addition, it enhances the biogas production process by more than 25%. Market Wire - November 7, 2007.

    A new Agency to manage Britain's commitment to biofuels was established today by Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly. The Renewable Fuels Agency will be responsible for the day to day running of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, coming into force in April next year. By 2010, the Obligation will mean that 5% of all the fuels sold in the UK should come from biofuels, which could save 2.6m to 3m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. eGov Monitor - November 5, 2007.

    Prices for prompt loading South African coal cargoes reached a new record last week with a trade at $85.00 a tonne free-on-board (FOB) for a February cargo. Strong Indian demand and tight supply has pushed South African prices up to record levels from around $47.00 at the beginning of the year. European DES/CIF ARA coal prices have remained fairly stable over the past few days, having traded up to a record $130.00 a tonne DES ARA late last week. Fair value is probably just below $130.00 a tonne, traders said. At this price, some forms of biomass become directly competitive with coal. Reuters Africa - November 4, 2007.

    The government of India's Harayana state has decided to promote biomass power projects based on gasification in a move to help rural communities replace costly diesel and furnace oil. The news was announced during a meeting of the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA). Six pilot plants have demonstrated the efficiency and practicability of small-scale biomass gasification. Capital subsidies will now be made available to similar projects at the rate of Rs 2.5 lakh (€4400) per 100 KW for electrical applications and Rs 2 lakh (€3500) per 300 KW for thermal applications. New Kerala - November 1, 2007.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Nigeria's Imo State launches large palm oil programme to shake off oil curse

Writing in This Day (Lagos), Eugene Agha describes how Nigeria's Imo State is rediscovering palm oil. The petroleum boom in the country has not benefited the people at large, which is why more and more regional governments are looking at agriculture as a way to shrug off the crude oil curse and to reinvest in land and people. Imo State has begun implementing the Imo State Oil Palm Development Programme (ISODEP) which targets to establish four million high yielding tenera palm trees by the year 2011. Distribution of the fast growing, early maturing trees amongst farmers has already begun. In Nigeria, petroleum is big business controlled by a select group of foreign companies, corrupt officials and local elites. The question is: will the new palm oil era be any different? Agha thinks it will.

Agriculture is the traditional occupation of the Nigerian people, he writes. Prior to the discovery and consequent exploration of mineral oil in the country, the economy of the nation stood on the tripod of palm oil, cocoa and groundnut production. These cash crops were produced not just for subsistence but also for export. While the south east region produced palm oil, the south west was into cocoa production and the north was well known for its groundnut pyramids. Each of the regions was doing well in its area of strength and the country was already on its way to economic independence.

Once the largest producer in the world, Nigeria's palm oil sector has declined and stagnated for decades. Large, old plantations are now ready for replanting.
The palm oil from the eastern region was described as being of the highest quality and the people took pride in the work of their hands. The people were so good at it that the Malaysians like the three wise oriental kings followed the scent of the palm oil to Imo state to learn the fine art of palm oil production. However, with the crude mineral oil boom, laziness and indolence took the place of hard work and dignity of labour. Agriculture suffered a setback as it was relegated to the back burner. In fact, agriculture became the occupation of the never-do-wells, the old and uneducated poor in the society.

The young people preferred to look for white collar jobs instead of engaging in farm work. The government on its part was more concerned with the wealth coming in from crude mineral oil to bother about providing incentives to encourage agriculture. Being ignorant of the great potentials of palm oil, the people threw away their chance of earning an enviable place in the great economies of the world. Currently, Malaysia which came here to learn about palm oil production is the world's number one producer and exporter of crude palm oil, closely followed by Indonesia. Having discovered the unparalleled productivity and huge benefits of investing in palm oil production, reports indicate that currently almost half of Malaysia's cultivated land consists of oil palm.

In 2004, according to reports, Indonesia cultivated oil palm plantations which covered 5.3 hectares of land. These plantations generated 11.4 million metric tons of palm oil with an export value of US$ 4.43 billion and brought in $42.4 million to the Indonesian treasury. Of course since then, the value of the product has continued to climb, making it almost competitive to petroleum.

Now the basic questions are; why has palm oil become the world's number one fruit crop? Why the sudden surge in the demand for palm oil? How did something Nigerians, nay Igbo threw aside become so valued in the world market? Well, apart from being a major ingredient for food, palm oil has other myriad uses. It is used in cosmetics production and more importantly one of the raw materials in biodiesel production. According to experts, biodiesels are biodegradable and, when burned, have fewer emissions than petroleum-based fuels. Thus, biodiesels are being looked upon as possible alternative energy source:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Because of this development, environmentalists have been supportive of biofuels and other world bodies have voted for the idea of reducing dependence on Middle East oil since many biodiesel crops can be grown in friendly territories. With this in mind, policymakers from Asia and Europe have shown interest and have made a major push to promote and adopt biofuels. These developments have all contributed to increased investment in palm oil production.

To cash in on this, Indonesia has reportedly announced that it intends to double its oil palm crude production by 2025. Under a 2005 investment proposal, prepared by the State Plantation Corporation PT Perkenuan Nusantara (PTPN), Indonesia would develop about 1.8 million hectares of land for palm plantation. China would be involved in the plan, reportedly investing $7.5 billion in energy and infrastructure projects, including providing capital for palm oil plantations. The project is expected to employ nearly 400,000 people and generate an annual inflow of $45 million in tax revenue to the state.

Despite these, oil palm is not native to Asia. It is native to Igboland but what have we gained from it? In one word, nothing. Not because the palm tree has refused to yield its precious oil to us but because we have neglected a veritable source of revenue in our pursuit of the easy money. Our over dependence on mineral oil has not done even half of what palm oil has done for Malaysia and Indonesia. The country has continued to tether on the brink of collapse as the Niger Deltans battle the rest of the country for the control of oil exploration rights. Today, if they sneeze the whole country catches cold.

Development programme
Knowing the dangers inherent in depending on the crude mineral oil, and having become aware of the great potentials and investment opportunities of palm oil, the knowledgeable in the land are poised to reverse the trends in agriculture. The government of Chief Ikedi Ohakim of Imo state is one of those who have decided to take a plunge in what comes natural to our land - investment in palm oil production. In the draft presentation of the Imo State Oil Palm Development Programme (ISODEP), the government declared that it is set to claim for the state the number one position in oil palm production in the country.

The vision of ISODEP is to create an alternative economic revenue base and lay a solid foundation for agric-business in Imo state as part of the millennium development goals critical objectives. The programme also seeks to reawaken the consciousness of Imo people to the nativity of palm tree and use the palm tree as a start-up tool for the clean and green initiative of the state government.

Under the programme, the state government seeks to raise and distribute four million tenera oil palm for planting through small holder's management unit in every community in the state within a four-year period. The government is also set to produce palm oil cluster centres and establish semi-automated oil mills in each nucleus in the 27 local government areas in the state. Ultimately however, Ohakim's government sees in the programme an avenue to significantly reduce poverty, enhance rural community development and create employment opportunities for the citizens. The government is also hopeful that this foundation project if handled well would attract foreign investment into the state's agriculture sector.

Announcement of the ISODEP by Longer S. Anyanwu, Imo State Ministry of Agriculture

You know that when we were small children, we were taught at school that palm tree is a native of Imo land through the visionary leadership of Dr M..I. Okpara but today after 48 years of existence of most of these trees, the yielding ability and the potentiality of these trees have now reduced to 75%. Malaysia we were told came here to collect palm fruit, today they are number one. So my policy thrust here is to ensure that at the end of 2011, this ministry would have carefully implemented a policy called ISODEP (Imo State Oil Palm Development Programme) which targets to achieve four million palm trees by the year 2011.

Commencing from 2008, I’m collaborating with the Malaysians and NIFOR [Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research] to get a high-breed specie of palm fruits called Tenera which is the fastest yielding, most productive palm tree in the world today of which the species from Malaysia has been proven to start yielding at the age of one year, six months. And Nigeria has produced one at NIFOR, that starts yielding in two and half years. So we are going to have the combination of the two so that by the year 2011, we can hit our chest and look back and said that we are proud to be the leader in this area.

And today, my governor told me that some experts in China and Malaysia who contacted us said that even the fallen trees that are no longer economically viable should not be thrown away, because we can recycle them to produce plywood. This is the blueprint that was presented to the governor, and it made his day.

This is the vision, the mission, the goals, I have mapped out and I have given myself target, week by week. Every day I come to this office, I ask myself what I have done on my ISODEP. We’re collaborating with the UNDP, NDDC, and other oil companies to realise this big project of ensuring the reclamation of four million palms tress. Do you know the beauty of it? I’m going to use the communities and the local government.

And by the time we charge every local governments every community to plant a minimum of fifty thousand palm seedlings, there is going to be a competition. And then this ministry is going to build semi-automated oil mills in those areas that will be managed by private entrepreneurs through special skills, low scheme arrangement. And I will tell you that by the time we finish the implementation of this programme, Imo State will be another self sustaining state in this country.

I want to also tell you that we are encouraging the youths to embrace agriculture and farming because the attitude people have toward agriculture is wrong, that it’s a job for jobless or for the aged. I’m now using young people at school. At the end of every academic session, the graduating students from secondary school, that are SSS 3 students born of Imo state, will emerge a stake holder by a token of a presentation of a palm tree by the government.

The principals of their respective schools will give them the palm tress to give to their parents and that automatically qualifies the student to be a stake holder in the state. The whole idea is that in three years the tree would have matured and began to germinate forth seeds, thereafter the student may wish to ask the government for another token. If this exercise is taken seriously by that child in future he may end up paying part of his/her school fees from the proceeds of the tree. And it’s the only way we can refocus the youth towards developing agriculture in lmo state.

Despite these laudable objectives however, the programme would not be a piece of cake to implement, especially knowing the disdain the young people in the state have for farming. Also, ignorance concerning the marketability of palm oil will have to be erased from the minds of the citizens before any major breakthrough could be made for without the full participation of the people the project will not have the effect government is projecting. Also, how prepared is government to establish the oil mills to ease the burden and hard work associated with palm oil production seeing that it was a main reason for the quick abandonment of the business at the first sign of an alternative way of making a living?

Commenting on the development, the state's commissioner for agriculture and natural resources, Chief Longers Anyanwu said government is willing to do all it takes to ensure the success of the programme. He said plans for the establishment of the mills had already reached advanced stage.

He disclosed that the state government plans to encourage youth participation by using secondary school students to distribute the palm seedlings. And to express its desire to see that the programme succeeds, the commissioner said all the executive members of Ohakim's government have been mandated to plant about 1000 palm seedlings as their contribution and as a sign of government's commitment to the revitalisation of oil palm production in the state.

The commissioner said it was also in government's plan to replace all the old and wild palm trees in the state with the improved species of tenera to ensure high production of palm oil for export purposes. In this regard, the association of oil palm producers in the state have declared their readiness to partner with government in its march to inject life into the business of palm oil production. Speaking on the renewed interest of government in palm oil production,Bernard Emecheta said government's plan is a welcome development and expressed confidence that they are capable of seeing it through.

He said palm oil production declined because of continued government neglect and the inability of the local producers to get any form of incentive from the government. He expressed regret over the fate of the state-owned Adapalm; an oil palm plantation company which he said has been in steady decline through poor management and government neglect. 'If a big company like Adapalm which used to record huge revenue for the state government could be allowed to waste away like that what do private palm oil producers have in government being interested in our affairs?' He remarked that with this renewed interest by government in palm oil production, the state has a good chance of at least increasing its internally generated revenue as well as curb the raging unemployment among the youth.

Already the state is collaborating with the Nigerian Agip company to realise this revolution. At a meeting held recently at the company's headquarters in Port Harcourt, the oil giants asked the state ministry of agriculture and natural resources to design a plan of action for that purpose. The company has in principle approved the erection of an administrative block and nursery sheds to support government in its bid to revitalise the oil palm sector. In this connection, Chief Anyanwu has already swung into action by providing a plot of land for the immediate take off of the projects. Discussions are also underway with Shell Petroleum Development Company for purposes of assisting government achieve its dream in this same direction.

Hopefully the 'new face of Imo' as the Ohakim government delights to be called will not go the way of previous governments in the state who only pay lip service to developmental issues. Palm oil production as other countries have discovered is big business, big enough to save this country from the heart ache of incessant unrest in the Niger Delta. All it requires really is leadership that is capable of trusting in its ability to bring about positive change. It's all about reorientation of the mind of the local populace that palm oil business is as good as mineral oil bunkering but without the hazards associated with the later.

Vanguard: 4 million trees coming to restore Nigeria’s oil palm glory — ANYANWU [*.pdf] - October 7, 2007.

This Day (Lagos) (via AllAfrica): Palm Oil Production As Linchpin to Imo Agric Revolution - December 3, 2007.

The Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research.

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Synthetic biology company OPX Biotech secures $3.6 million in funding for next generation biofuels technology

OPX Biotechnologies, Inc., a new company dedicated to enabling economically viable biofuels and biorefined chemicals through synthetic biology research announces that it has secured $3.6 million in venture funding led by Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV), a leading Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm.

OPX has developed a first-of-its-kind genomics technology platform known as SCALEs (SCalar Analysis of Library Enrichments) that enables massively parallel full genome search, identification of specific causative genes, and rapid genetic modification and testing. The platform allows OPX to identify the role of each gene and how to modify it to achieve the characteristics needed for specific fuel and chemical products 1000 to 5000 times faster than conventional methods. The result is to quickly engineer new microbes to provide major improvements in tolerance, productivity, and specificity for fuel and chemicals production using biological processes. This might vastly decrease the production costs and capital requirements for renewal fuels and chemicals. SCALEs is based on pioneering genomics work by Professor Ryan Gill and Dr. Michael Lynch at the University of Colorado.
OPX has the potential to address one of the great challenges of our time - meeting the tremendous demand for renewable fuels and chemicals that are cost competitive and superior to petroleum-based products with far lower carbon emissions. Their proprietary, first of its kind massively parallel, full genome search and gene modification technology platform is a major breakthrough in synthetic biology that could vastly reduce the time it takes to design the microbes needed for economically viable biofuels and biorefined chemicals. - Erik Straser, MDV general partner
Synthetic biology is a rapidly emerging, disruptive science field with great promise for the production of abundant biofuels and renewable, innovative bioproducts (previous post). It is based on collecting and sequencing large amounts of genetic material from the environment (from microorganisms in oceans, soils, etc), analyzing and matching the most interesting sequences to recombine and reorganize them so that they are programmed to carry out a specific bioconversion process; the synthetically engineered 'building blocks' are then inserted into (micro)organisms or used as such as artificial 'biological machines', which perform the desired task (schematic, click to enlarge).

Besides Mohr Davidow Ventures, a major Silicon Valley venture firm and one of the top investors in the clean technology field, X/Seed Capital, a leading seed stage venture firm, invested in OPX earlier and participated again in this second round:
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OPX received seed financing from X/Seed in June, 2007.

The company further announced that it appointed Rob Chess Chairman and CEO. Chess serves on the Board of Directors of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). He received his B.S. degree in Engineering from the California Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from Harvard. Chess has held leading positions in Nektar Therapeutics, a company that develops improved pharmaceutical products using its innovative drug delivery platforms, and was co-founder and President of Penederm, Inc., a publicly-traded dermatological pharmaceutical company that was sold to Mylan Laboratories. He has held management positions at Intel Corporation and Metaphor Computer Systems (now part of IBM), and was a member of the first President Bush's White House staff.

The OPX Board of Directors includes MDV's Erik Straser, X/Seed's Michael Borrus, Professor Ryan Gill, a co-founder of the company and the Patten Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at University of Colorado, and Rob Chess as Chairman and CEO.

Mohr Davidow Ventures is a leading Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that for 25 years has identified, mentored and developed entrepreneurs and young companies redefining business, technology and medicine. MDV has $2 billion dollars under management.

X/Seed Capital is an early-stage venture firm that provides seed capital for breakthrough innovators. X/Seed was founded in 2006 and is based in Silicon Valley.

Schematic: from DNA collection to reprogrammed microorganism. Credit: Synthetic genomics.

Michael D Lynch, Tanya Warnecke & Ryan T Gill. “SCALEs: multiscale analysis of library enrichment”, Nature Methods - 4, 87 - 93 (2007), doi:10.1038/nmeth946

Ryan T. Gill, Tanya Warnecke, Michael D. Lynch, Amarjeet Singh, "Using Genomics to Direct Strain Selections", AIChE 2007 Annual Meeting, Biomolecular Engineering.

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