Skip to comments.Enivronmentalists worst nightmare? GMO’d ‘frankenbugs’ could make fuel directly from CO2
Posted on 03/27/2013 1:15:51 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
From the University of Georgia:
UGA discovery may allow scientists to make fuel from CO2 in the atmosphere
Athens, Ga. Excess carbon dioxide in the Earths atmosphere created by the widespread burning of fossil fuels is the major driving force of global climate change, and researchers the world over are looking for new ways to generate power that leaves a smaller carbon footprint.
Now, researchers at the University of Georgia have found a way to transform the carbon dioxide trapped in the atmosphere into useful industrial products. Their discovery may soon lead to the creation of biofuels made directly from the carbon dioxide in the air that is responsible for trapping the suns rays and raising global temperatures.
Basically, what we have done is create a microorganism that does with carbon dioxide exactly what plants do-absorb it and generate something useful, said Michael Adams, member of UGAs Bioenergy Systems Research Institute, Georgia Power professor of biotechnology and Distinguished Research Professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
During the process of photosynthesis, plants use sunlight to transform water and carbon dioxide into sugars that the plants use for energy, much like humans burn calories from food.
These sugars can be fermented into fuels like ethanol, but it has proven extraordinarily difficult to efficiently extract the sugars, which are locked away inside the plants complex cell walls.
What this discovery means is that we can remove plants as the middleman, said Adams, who is co-author of the study detailing their results published March 25 in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. We can take carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere and turn it into useful products like fuels and chemicals without having to go through the inefficient process of growing plants and extracting sugars from biomass.
The process is made possible by a unique microorganism called Pyrococcus furiosus, or rushing fireball, which thrives by feeding on carbohydrates in the super-heated ocean waters near geothermal vents. By manipulating the organisms genetic material, Adams and his colleagues created a kind of P. furiosus that is capable of feeding at much lower temperatures on carbon dioxide.
The research team then used hydrogen gas to create a chemical reaction in the microorganism that incorporates carbon dioxide into 3-hydroxypropionic acid, a common industrial chemical used to make acrylics and many other products.
With other genetic manipulations of this new strain of P. furiosus, Adams and his colleagues could create a version that generates a host of other useful industrial products, including fuel, from carbon dioxide.
When the fuel created through the P. furiosus process is burned, it releases the same amount of carbon dioxide used to create it, effectively making it carbon neutral, and a much cleaner alternative to gasoline, coal and oil.
This is an important first step that has great promise as an efficient and cost-effective method of producing fuels, Adams said. In the future we will refine the process and begin testing it on larger scales.
The research was supported by the Department of Energy as part of the Electrofuels Program of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy under Grant DE-AR0000081.
UGA Bioenergy Systems Research Institute
The Bioenergy Systems Research Institute at the University of Georgia supports alternative energy, fuel and materials production through the conversion of biomass. The institute encourages and facilitates research projects in bioenergy that pool UGAs strengths in forestry, environmental science and engineering with carbohydrate science, genetics and microbiology. The institute also supports education and training of scientists as well as outreach projects designed to involve public and private stakeholders in the development of next-generation bioenergy technologies. For more information about the institute, see bioenergy.ovpr.uga.edu.
Excess carbon dioxide in the Earths atmosphere
If these Bugs went viral,...we could drown in fuel...Oh NO!!!!
Go at throttle up. Woo Hoo! More CO2. My plants will love it.
created by the widespread burning of fossil fuels is the major driving force of global climate change,
Frankly, given the choice between freezing to death or roasting, I'll take a heat pad and a heavy winter coat!
When the fuel created through the P. furiosus process is burned, it releases the same amount of carbon dioxide used to create it, effectively making it carbon neutral,...
I find reassuring.
Do we have another Solyndra in the making? This artcle is less about science and more politics. It has the PC intro and PC proof that all those tax dollars wasted by the feds is really wasted on good stuff!
"Excess" CO2? "Trapped" in the atmosphere? I wonder who spelled those big words for the author?
This is what happened to Mars.
Any article that starts out with a flat out lie in the first sentence will be taken by me with a salt mine.
In order to recive funding....that must say they support the AGENDA!
Seconded and thirded! This so-called "fact" is very much open to question. It's the central point of this whole debate: do rises in CO2 levels precede or follow warming cycles? If they follow, as many prominent scientists believe, then the whole junk science AGW charade collapses.
Stop, this makes too much sense. Besides, the Bush Family will eventually go bankrupt in four de-generations.
Despite my earlier post, this is actually pretty cool. Only downside is we NEED some global warming right now...this weather has me wondering if the next ice age might already be starting!
That’s not fair! You posted that while I was composing mine. lol
UGA, UGA, UGA!!!
Click the Image.
I may be old and slow ,....but ever now and then,...I get in a good lick.
I keep looking for a way to impress my grandkids.
What happens to the planet IF there is NOT ENOUGH CO2 in the atmosphere.??.....
Everything after this is necessarily untrustworthy.
I’ve actually assumed for a long time that some ‘bug’ must make oil...probably microscopic in size.
1. Purity. Oil is supposedly plant and animal matter that just ‘decomposed’. Wouldn’t that mean that somewhere along the way, some petrified wood, a sliver of bone, or fibrous plant material would show up, with all the oil we’ve pumped? Since that doesn’t happen, wouldn’t oil’s homogeneous nature imply that some process is sythesising the decaying matter?
2. Free Carbon. On a macro scale, the problem with burning fuel isn’t really the CO2, as much as the O2. Once the carbon joins with the oxygen, there are not many processes in nature that split the two back again...and concievably, we could lower the oxygen content of air. Sure plants split them - but ultimately most are ‘used’ in a way that joins its carbon back to oxygen - you eat wheat for example, your body burns it, and you breath out CO2, same goes for burning wood, etc. So, we have vast reserves of carbon below ground, which could potentially join with all our oxygen and suffocate us all...and its very good that the O2 is above ground, and the carbon is seperate below ground. But how did the carbon seperate itself in the first place? I believe some process had to have performed this task...and micsoscopic bugs nibbling at decaying plants is not a stretch. Similar concepts are used in water treatment, and have been for years.
Now why haven’t we seen these ‘bugs’. Maybe something changed in our atmosphere, and they went the way of the dinosaurs.
I know it sounds whacky...but really, does the ‘decayed plant and animal life’ sound that plausible?
no, no, oranges bugs simply will not do...they must be GREEN!
Okay,,, and what could possibly go wrong?
The sky is burning! The sky is burning!
And then they will explode in a ‘bug bloom’, eating up all the CO2 necessary for plant life and the planet will die.
Don’t mess with Mother Nature! Reference: kudzu, zebra mollusks, water hyanciths, fire ants, jumping carp, pythons and boas, Africanized bees, nutria, etc, etc. etc.
The crime of the century goes on unabated.
If succesful, cue the anti-Monsanto/chemtrails/black helicopters/tinfoil hat brigade!
Temperature and pressure, most likely, with the passage of sufficient time.
But noimpurities whatsoever. A calcified kidney stone from a dinosaur, a chunk of petrified wood - something?
He is another theory (different than bugs):
I know tectonic plates have moved around alot, etc...but doesn’t it also seem odd that oil is continuously found at such great depths...how topsy turvy have the plates been over the years, for all the decayed plant matter to be that deep?