We have modest goals of replacing the whole petrochemical industry and becoming a major source of energy," Venter told an audience.
Simple organisms can be genetically re-engineered to produce vaccines or octane-based fuels as waste, according to Venter.
Biofuel alternatives to oil are third-generation. The next step is life forms that feed on CO2 and give off fuel such as methane gas as waste, according to Venter.
His team is using synthetic chromosomes to modify organisms that already exist, not making new life, he said. Organisms already exist that produce octane, but not in amounts needed to be a fuel supply.
Hat tip to Alfin for the following links on biofuels and bio-ethanol:
Global Research Technologies in Arizona and Sandia Labs in New Mexico and Los Alamos are working on making biofuel from CO2. Los Alamos has the Green Freedom project which also would produce biofuel from CO2 The price of gasoline at the pump would need to be US $4.60 per gallon for the current Green Freedom process to be profitable. The calculation assumes the incorporation of a nuclear reactor to provide electricity for the process.
The Green Freedom process is describe in this pdf
There are several groups working on very inexpensive bioethanol.
ZeaChem and Coskata are promising high volume bio-ethanol at US $1 a gallon, by 2012. New Canadian startup Syntec promises even cheaper bio-ethanol--40 cents a gallon.