Joule’s website describes the breakthrough as ‘energy independence’, although many remain sceptical.
Chief executive Bill Sims said: ‘We make some lofty claims, all of which we believe, all which we’ve validated, all of which we’ve shown to investors.
‘If we’re half-right, this revolutionises the world’s largest industry, which is the oil and gas industry.
‘And if we’re right, there’s no reason why this technology can’t change the world.’
But National Renewable Energy Laboratory scientist Philip Pienkos said Joule’s technology is exciting but unproven, and their claims of efficiency are undercut by difficulties they could have just collecting the fuel their organism is producing.
Perhaps it can work, but ‘the four-letter word that’s the biggest stumbling block is whether it “will” work,’ Mr Donohue said.
‘There are really good ideas that fail during scale up.’
Mr Sims said he knows ‘there’s always sceptics for breakthrough technologies’.
Joule was founded in 2007. In the last year, it’s roughly doubled its employees to 70, closed a $30 million second round of private funding in April and added John Podesta, former White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, to its board of directors.
The company worked in ‘stealth mode’ for a couple of years before it recently began revealing more about what it was doing, including a patent for its cyanobacterium last year. This month, it released a peer-reviewed paper it says backs its claims.