There is no question that the world is facing a continues fuel shortage and is why many manufacturers are developing greener alternatives. I have also heard that there are still many companies out there trying to develop new ways to create fuels like ethanol or butanol. Many different techniques have been used to create the fuel in the past. What might be the wildest idea yet is the creation of a super-bug that will be able to create these fuels.
Several researchers from North Caroline State and the University of Georgia have joined together to create a new version of a bug called an extremophile. This type of bug is unique because it has the ability to thrive in extreme environments that many other bugs would not have a chance. These bugs can live without the use of oxygen and have the ability to grow in temperatures that are like boiling water. They are also known to be able to be resilient towards high levels of radiation. This ability to remain alive makes them the ideal bug to duplicate in order to make the fuel creation a reality.
The scientists plan to combine three to five different bugs together. They will begin the process by starting with a bug that is based on bacteria. The bacteria will then develop into the new extremophile that will cut past the the photosynthetic sugar making process. By bypassing this step, the bug will then be able to create the butanol and ethanol fuels from the carbon dioxide and hydrogen that it takes in. The bug would be placed in an environment that has a lot of natural gas or would be fed the hydrogen and carbon dioxide directly to help the process begin.
In order for the entire process to be completed it will cost a lot of money. The group of scientists had to take the time to raise $2.5 million dollars. This large sum of money will cover the costs of the staff, multiple tests, and long studies that must take place. Some people are already crying foul because they believe that the scientists are trying to play god. However, it is their creative outlook that might lead to these types of fuels from being in low quantity. Individuals need not to worry that this is a creation similar to the upcoming movie Splice. This is actually a strong environmentally focused move.
The creation of this new type of super-bug will enable us to stop using all of the earth’s natural resources. We will be able to create the fuels that we need without depriving the planet in the process. This is why this type of creation is considered a green technology. The outlook of a clean and friendly environment is not being lost in the creation of this super-bug. It will be interesting to see how the bug comes out over the next few months. Stay tuned to my page to find out the latest updates.
Steven A. Mottor, My Own Review, 2010.
Treehugger, http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/05/scientists_creating_extremophile_super_bug_to_make_fuel.php, 2010