Bacteria Turns CO2 Into Fuel
With all the media madness it is easy to miss the really important news. This appears to be the case for many people I have spoken to, who did not see this incredible breakthrough…
As reported in Phys.org, Daniel Nocera, a Harvard Chemist, managed to engineer a bacteria that ‘ate’ CO2 and hydrogen. The bacteria, Ralston Eutropha, could be engineered to excrete a range of alcohols, including isopropanol.
Now I have to say, I am no fan of genetic engineering, but in this case the benefits well may justify the risk. We are in a dire situation, and need to mop up as much CO2 as possible. Alcohols can make very clean burning fuels, and would be carbon neutral if sourced from such a bacteria.
Obviously we would not clean up the CO2 if we kept burning all the alcohol it produced (as it would be released back into the atmosphere upon burning). However it would be a big step in the right direction. The bacteria are also capable of creating biomass which can also be burned (or help lock up CO2). And it does so at a rate of over 10% efficiency (compared to mosts plants lowely 1% efficiency).
Nocera hopes to see his creation helping provide fuel to poorer communities, such as in India. While this would be great to see happen, personally I would like to see it become available throughout the world.
The potential to remove Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere, and produce cheap fuels locally (without the need for lengthy transportation) is something that the world desperately needs. Fingers crossed this happens sooner rather than later!