New Renewable Energy Source: Bacterium That Excretes Fuel Acohols
A research team developed efficient, renewable energy resource from bacteria, engineered to convert carbon and hydrogen into a variety of alcohols. The resource is expected to be developed as an alternative to fossil fuels.
Harvard chemist Daniel Nocera led the team who engineered the bacteria. The research is a follow-up on their recent success in developing the bionic leaf, a polymer that mimics plant photosynthesis. Nocera said alcohol extracted from the bacteria is a feasible energy source, in comparison to hydrogen produced by the bionic leaf.
Biomass In Demand, Not Hydrogen
In a Forbes report, he said that the world isn't ready for hydrogen energy, not yet. "If I give you my renewable hydrogen the only thing you'll do is blow up balloons with it."
Nocera also mentioned the existing infrastructure cannot accommodate hydrogen as a fuel source, which was proven by the auto industry's lack of support for the technology. The team then turned their attention to studies with immediate, practical applications: on engineered, fuel-excreting bacteria.
Bacteria Engineered To Expel Energy Source
Phys.org reports how the Ralston eutropha strain produces burning fuels. The strain is first developed to absorb carbon dioxide and hydrogen, essential elements in the production of adenosine triphosphate. This process is found in nature, but the team took this a step further by facilitating the conversion of ATP to alcohol, specifically isopentanol, isobutanol, and isopropanol. These by-products are then collected from the bacteria's excrement.
The team adopted techniques from colleague Anthony Sinskey, improving production efficiency of biomass up to 10.6 percent. In comparison, plants are 1% efficient at converting sunlight and carbon dioxide into biomass.
Regarding comments whether his research offers solutions to the problem of global warming and greenhouse gases, Nocera was doubtful. He said that the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed to facilitate production is negated when the by-product is burned as fuel. At the very least, the process offers a carbon-neutral resource.
The technology has immediate applications in areas without electricity, such as remote and isolated communities. Nocera said his team is scouting for investors who can apply the technology to communities in need in India. The research is preceded by studies with similar implications.
Bill Gates Names 3 Careers He'd Drop Out For Today
Famous Harvard dropout and current billionaire Bill Gates would like to pursue a career in the field of artificial intelligence, energy sector, or biotechnology.
Algae Biofuel: Finding Algae Species For Making Renewable Energy
Algae might be the future of renewable energy! With the booming industry of algae biofuel, researchers try to find more productive algae species to make biofuel.
Renewable Energy Soon To Replace Dwindling Fossil Fuels
When are we going to decide and realize fossil fuels might have their end? There are lots of barriers to this realization and conclusion for change.
Electricity From Saltwater: How To Use Sea Waves
Wave power electricity in combination with other clean energy sources may provide sustainable renewable energy for the whole world in the future.
Singapore to Launch World's Largest Floating Solar Panels
Solar energy is now more accessible than before. It gives consumers a non-pollutant source and can be installed now to generate power for your home. In Singapore, they are really utilizing every corner of their place. They are to launch the world’s largest floating solar panels.
Solar Energy Overtaking Coal As Primary Source Of Energy Among Countries
Hundreds of countries are working together to curb the rising level of greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere that’s worsening global warming. One of the major solutions for this problem is employing renewable energy rather than coal, and recent reports are coming in that solar energy is overtaking coal as the major go-to resource in power production among countries.
MORE IN ITECHPOST
Beyond Queen's Stomp-Stomp-Clap: Concerts and Computer Science Converge in New Research
The iconic "stomp-stomp-clap" of Queen's "We Will Rock You" was born out of the challenge that rock stars and professors alike know all too well: How to get large numbers of people engaged in participating during a live performance like a concert -- or a lecture -- and channel that energy for a sustained time period.
Using Waves to Move Droplets
Self-cleaning surfaces and laboratories on a chip become even more efficient if we are able to control individual droplets. University of Groningen professor Patrick Onck, together with colleagues from the Eindhoven University of Technology, has shown that this is possible by using a technique named mechanowetting.