Biofuel Made from Waste CO2 and Sunlight

Using the same principles as photosynthesis, Joule produces renewable transportation fuels from sunlight, waste CO2, and non-potable water.

Joule has developed a technology transforming waste CO2 into biofuel. The process starts when a liquid medium consisting of engineered bacteria and non-potable water is introduced to a modular circulation unit of transparent pipes. When the bacteria have reached the right density required for fuel production, waste CO2 is pumped from an industrial emitter or pipeline to the circulation unit, keeping the bacteria in motion, and maximizing their exposure to sunlight in order to drive the photosynthesis-like process to produce the final fuel.

The process requires no corn, sugar, or fresh water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has registered Joule’s Sunflow-E ethanol for commercial use in gasoline blends, providing carbon-neutral fuel that does not require changes to infrastructure. Joule has raised more than $200 million in funding to date, successfully pilot-tested the platform and technology over more than two years, and is working hard to prepare the innovative fuel for final commercial use.

Relevance of solution

2015 registered as the warmest year on record, and to prevent further temperature increases, global CO2 emissions must be drastically reduced. 1 By converting waste CO2 into a raw material in fuel production, Joule’s technology can result in massively reduced CO2 emissions and achieve high scalability without the use of agricultural land, fresh water, or crops.

Triple Bottom Line


Joule offers a clean alternative to the 530 billion liters of gasoline consumed in USA in 2015, of which 92% were petroleum-based.2


A modular production system makes it easy to roll out and expand the solution.


The fuel can be utilized without changes to infrastructure, reducing the costs of transitioning from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources.


  1. UNEP. ”Emissions Gap Report" (2014)
  2. U.S. Energy Information Administration. “How Much Gasoline Does the United States Consume?” (March 2016)