Could New Fuel Come From Bug Poop? Genetic Altering Bugs Could Excrete Crude Oil
POSTED: 11:04 am EDT June 17, 2008
UPDATED: 11:36 am EDT June 17, 2008
Could bugs be excreting fuel for future use? If a San Francisco lab has its way, it might be.
LS9, Inc., a privately-held industrial biotechnology company based in South San Francisco, specializes in the genetic alteration of bugs -- single-cell organisms, each a fraction of a billionth the size of an ant -- so that when they feed on agricultural waste like woodchips or wheat straw, they excrete crude oil.
"All of us here -Ė everyone in this company and in this industry -- are aware of the urgency," Greg Pal, a senior director of LS9, told the British newspaper The Times. "I have two children, and climate change is something that they are going to face. The energy crisis is something that they are going to face. We have a collective responsibility to do this."
The bugs start out as industrial yeast or non-pathogenic strains of E. coli, but LS9 modifies them by custom designing their DNA. Using genetically modified bugs for fermentation is essentially the same as using natural bacteria to produce ethanol. The Washington Post reported that the bugs' synthetic metabolisms are so efficient that LS9 predicts it will be able to sell the fuel for just $1.25 a gallon.
The United States consumes about 143 million barrels of oil per week. To substitute LS9's product for oil, it would require a facility that covered about 205 square miles, an area roughly the size of Chicago, The Times reported. The paper also said that, although LS9 can produce its bug fuel in laboratory beakers, the company is unsure if the results will be the same on a nationwide or global scale.
Distributed by Internet Broadcasting.
Ummm... errrr.... ya. Ok. Sure. Maybe?
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06-18-2008, 10:00 AM #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
Could New Fuel Come From Bug Poop?
06-24-2008, 10:15 AM #2
What's next? Methane gas collectors strapped to the backs of cows?I fish for a living, but I have to work for money...
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