Skip to comments.Researcher: Discovery could end energy crisis
Posted on 03/20/2008 3:35:26 AM PDT by Neville72
A Tifton agricultural researcher says he has found the solution to the worlds energy crisis through genetic modification and cloning of bacterial organisms that can convert bio-mass into hydrocarbons on a grand scale. The local researcher believes his groundbreaking discovery could result in the production of 500 to 1,000 barrels of hydrocarbon fuel per day from the initial production facility. The hydrocarbon fuel commonly known as oil or fossil fuel when drilled will require no modification to automobiles, oil pipelines or refineries as they exist today and could forever end the United States dependence on foreign oil, he said.
J.C. Bell, who brought the world powdered peanut butter, has spent the last four years, identifying the bacteria that produces hydrocarbon and then finding a way to genetically alter it so that it could produce hydrocarbon in greater volume.
Bell cited a USDA study that projected it was possible to produce two billion tons of bio-mass that could be converted to hydrocarbon with some modification to agriculture and forestry practices.
Pamela Serino, Chief of the Department of Defense Energy Support Center at Fort Belvoir, Va., said she was very excited about Bells technology. The DOD Energy Support Center is the energy purchasing arm of the defense logistics agency, Serino said. She said she became acquainted with Bell when he met with a senator about his hydrocarbon research. We give support to the Hill, she said. When he was briefing the senator, we were there to see if his technology was viable. Serino said her job was to question the science behind the technology. It looks good to me, she said.
Serino said she envisions a near future where we have multiple regional energy sources. She said the growth in China and India makes the work in bio-energy more critical.
Now that his discoveries have been patented, his corporation formed Bell Bio-Energy, Inc. and his government communications established, Bell announced his discoveries to the local press on Friday morning.
I have received a tremendous amount of support from the state and federal government, Bell said. I could not have gotten this far without the help of (U.S. Sen.) Saxby Chambliss, (U.S. Sen.) Johnny Isakson, (Rep.) Jim Marshall, (Rep.) Jack Kingston and Floyd Gabler, the deputy undersecretary of the USDA. He said, They have opened doors for me at the Department of Defense and the EPA and EPD.
Bell said he never considered ethanol for his research. He who burns his food goes hungry, Bell said. Thats an old Chinese proverb. Instead he concentrated on bio-mass and hydrocarbons. If it grows its bio-mass, Bell said. Bio-mass is any living or recently dead biological material. Hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Decomposed organic matter provides an abundance of carbon and hydrogen and is naturally occurring in crude oil.
Sources for bio-mass to be converted to hydrocarbon fuel are the forestry industry, pulp plants, agriculture and waste derived from the construction and demolition industry.
This is the ultimate recycling, Bell said. Environmentalists should rejoice. We are only using waste products. Bell said his company would take all of the waste of the plants: The tree limbs and tree tops, husks and cob of the corn, wheat stubble and corn stover.
Bell said that with ethanol, The United Stated would have to totally rebuild our infrastructure. He said, We wanted to make hydrocarbon that could immediately be pumped.
Bell said the original idea came from observing cows expel gas. That is natural gas, Bell said. Cows release methane gas. He said the gas is created by bacteria in the cows rumen or stomach. These bacterial organisms are responsible for biological conversion of bio-mass into hydrocarbons, he said.
With his research complete, Bell is in the process of building his pilot plants and production facilities. At the pilot plants, the bio-mass will be tested to select bacterial strains, bacterial genetic modification will be tested, revision of production protocols will be established, and a determination will be made of the best method of bio-mass conversion.
We are exploring several locations for our pilot plants and production facilities, Bell said. We have the opportunity to put our plants in several locations.
He estimated the budget for the research facility to be at $60 million annually and the production facilities at $250 to $300 million a year. He anticipates being in full scale production by October 1, 2009.
Wherever this is located, the community will reap tremendous economic benefit, he said.
Bell cites a number of benefits of bio-mass conversion: The energy shortage issue can be effectively addressed, it is a totally renewable energy source, it calms global warming fears, utilizes industrial waste and supports the agriculture industry.
We can reduce the waste stream by 70 percent, he said.
For more information e-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact reporter Jana Cone, call 382-4321, ext. 208.
Anyone that has read, "Call of the Wild", recognizes those terms.
OK, OK, I admit that I don't know how many have read that book.
Or perhaps they'll invest in it. Profit is profit.
But even environmentalists recognize a difference between carbon that was recently incorporated into plant life and "ancient" carbon pumped from the ground.
He just needs to ID the bacteria in Dino Crap.
Thanks for your reply. It’s hard to tell when reading these postings who actually has adequate background to evaluate the subject and who is just blowing CH4.
What aspect(s) of the claim do you have issue with?
The photo is funny, but I remember seeing an article on Sciencedaily about some midwestern researchers who’d found a way to engineer e coli to produce hydrogen. I am all in favor of using bacteria to produce energy, but I think it’s very dangerous to use e coli as the base bacteria. Your photo might come true. Might also have people doing the same thing.
I’m not questioning your professional experience. If what you say is true,why would Shell invest millions in a plant in Hawaii?
What is a good stump broke mule fetching these days?
And we ain’t tellin’...
Even if it works, the world burn the equivalent of ten years growth of biomass every year.
However, every new source helps.
I don’t know about that. The world produces vast quantities of biomass even without cultivation. The problem is not so much where to get the biomass as it is how to convert it economically to a usable fuel.
WAY TOO MUCH CREDIT BROTHER!
Half of all biomass is currently eaten or used. If every bit were available for fuel, it would represent about ten percent of our energy needs.
I can’t believe that number. The world produces vast quantities of forest growth, and other plant growth from algae to the weeds in your garden. We can’t be consuming 1/2 of that.
You realize, of course, that only a select minority here understand the meaning of "gee" and "haw."Gee, Haw, Whoa, Back.
Only the truly educated!
Damn! I coulda' had a V-8
I, too, find that VERY hard to believe!
Tell that to the folks in Florida & on Lake Victoria battling water hyacinth, or the folks in the Southeast watching kudzu overcome everything in it's path.
“What aspect(s) of the claim do you have issue with?”
There are many but I will address just a couple.
They basically claim that their process can use any type of plant material and convert it to oil. There is no single organism known that can efficiently break down more than a few forms of plant material. This is a major roadblock in the production of ethanol from plant waste or grasses. You need a preprocessing step to break down the fibers to get to the cellulose. They currently use an enzyme cocktail that is expensive, time consuming, and inefficient.
Once the plant material is broken down, it must be coverted to oil. In cows the grass material is ultimately converted to cow pies and methane after the nutrients are extracted. Methane is the simplest hydrocarbon and very different from oil or even gasoline. The organisms that generate methane (called methanogens) cannot convert grass to oil, nor can any naturally occuring bacteria (and they cant be made to do so by simple genetic manipulation). There is also the problem that the organisms that make methane are very difficult to work with and are killed by the presence of oxygen so his reactions would have to be oxygen free environment (not possible on a large scale reactor).
I wont even get into the problems of collecting, transporting, handling and processing 2 billion tons of plant material. Even if the miracle organisms exist, the number and size of the reactors needed to do this conversion would make your average alcohol brewery plant look like a kiddie pool.
The techical hurdles that would have to be overcome are enormous.
However, the federal government will continue to waste billions of dollars to develop hydrogen cars, fuel cell cars and make corn ethanol all of which require modifications to pipelines, refineries and even whole new auto technologies instead of pursuing this more rational approach.
“If what you say is true,why would Shell invest millions in a plant in Hawaii?”
No offense, I am happy to answer questions on this. What shell is doing is completely different from the process described in the article. Certain varieties of algae naturally produce and contain a high oil content. They use light energy to convert CO2 to oil. All you have to do is grow them and extract the oil after harvesting (which can be challenging). Its a relatively simple process as opposed to the technical nightmare Bell’s company would require.
BTW, I strongly suspect Shell is doing this as a stunt to show they are doing something green and carbon neutral.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.