Ever eat in your car? If so, we're thinking there is a good chance there is currently at least one french fry stuck between the driver seat and the center arm rest. That's pretty bad, but a study by researchers from British auto accessories retailer Halfords shows that there probably are a lot more disgusting things in your ride than some fried potatoes or a few chunks of shredded lettuce. Scientists swabbed the door handles, steering wheel, shift knob, radio and seats and found bacteria ranging
Mascoma Corp is one of the two cellulosic ethanol companies that General Motors invested in earlier this year. Dr. Lee Lynd is one of Mascoma's co-founders and he and his collaborators at Dartmouth College have published a paper that gives some more insight into Mascoma's process. They have created a new genetically-engineered bacteria aimed at producing ethanol from biomass. The key to this new microbe is its ability to function at higher temperatures than the naturally-occurring types that hav
Those of you out there obsessed with using anti-bacterial soaps and lotions every ten minutes might want to think twice about killing off every microbe you find. There are plenty of beneficial microbes out there including all the ones in your gut without which you wouldn't be able to process the food you eat.
What if we could speed up the process of making petroleum for use in our automobiles? Even better: what if we could just produce all of the hydrocarbons we need when we need them? Would we then have "renewable petroleum"? That is what a company known as LS9 is working on. They are "coaxing bacteria into producing hydrocarbons that could be processed into fuels like those made from petroleum." How? It seems that they are genetically engineering bacteria such as E. coli to make hydrocarbon chains.
The DOE is partnering with the Washington University in St. Louis to sequence the DNA of six photosynthetic bacteria. Funding of $1.6 million is being devoted to the project based on the potential for these bacteria to be a great source of biofuel in the future. The potential exists for microscopic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) to capture sunlight and then produce clean ethanol via a biochemical process.
Nano-bio-technology company Nanologix has apparently come up with a new process for producing hydrogen gas for use as a fuel. Microbiologists Dr. Sergey Gazenko and Ben Feldmann have developed a proprietary bacteria that can convert various nutrients into hydrogen. The idea of a proprietary life form is rather disturbing, but this is nonetheless probably the best path toward efficient production of hydrogen.
As many of you point out, the hydrogen economy remains on the distant horizon for a handful of reasons, one of which being the absence of an economical, safe and environmentally friendly production method. Daniel (Niels) van der Lelie, a biologist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, however, believes we will be able to use bacteria to safely "brew" it.