Narrator: This is Science Today. The Helios Project is a groundbreaking initiative led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that seeks to convert solar energy into sustainable, carbon-neutral sources of energy. Jay Keasling, director of Physical Biosciences at the Berkeley Lab and co-leader of the proposal, says his work with synthetic biology will be an integral part of the Helios Project.
Keasling: We'll be able to engineer plants, for instance, that will produce our fuels or that will produce more readily available feedstock for our fuels; plants that don't need fertilizers or as much water as what we now give them, so that we can less expensively produce our fuels. Once we've set these standards for synthetic biology and we understand how to put components together in a very reliable way – once we have this for biology, it means that we might be able to produce fuels using biology that will actually be economically-viable and compete strongly with petroleum.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.