James Liao was among 15 individuals recognized by the academy for major contributions in the physical, biological and medical sciences. Liao was recognized for “production of higher alcohols as drop-in fuel from sugars, cellulose, waste protein, or carbon dioxide."
James Liao was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for his advances in metabolic engineering of microorganisms to produce fuels and chemicals. Election to the National Academy of Engineering is one of the highest honors bestowed upon engineers. The National Academy of Engineering was founded in 1964 and is one of four of The National Academies, which also include the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council.
Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science demonstrate for the first time the feasibility of using proteins — one of the most abundant biomolecules on earth — as a significant raw material for biorefining and biofuel production.
James Liao has been named co-winner of the 2013 Eni Prize for renewable energy research. Liao was recognized for his work in synthesizing isobutanol and other higher alcohols as biofuels. The award was presented by the President of Italy Giorgio Napolitano at the Quirinal Palace in Rome on June 27.
A new "bioreactor" could store electricity as liquid fuel with the help of a genetically engineered microbe and copious carbon dioxide. The idea—dubbed "electrofuels" by a federal agency funding the research—could offer electricity storage that would have the energy density of fuels such as gasoline.
Natural metabolic pathways degrade sugars in an oxidative way that loses 1/3 of the carbon to CO2 in fermentation. The Liao Laboratory developed a pathway, called Non-oxidative glycolysis (NOG), that allows 100% carbon conservation in various fermentation processes. See details in Bogorad et al. Nature 2013.
James Liao was one of nine individuals honored at the White House as Champions of Change for advancing new ideas that are leading the way to a clean energy future and an economy that’s built to last. The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative.
James Liao, the first UCLA professor to receive the 2010 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its 15-year history, is being recognized for his groundbreaking work recycling carbon dioxide for the biosynthesis of higher alcohols.