Ecoli Harvesting For Fuel


Alternative Fuels Ecoli harvesting

April, 2013 Ecoli as Synthetic Fuel University of Exeter, John Love Exeter, United Kingdom

Matt Whitham

Most of the biofuels on the market now fall into one of two categories: bio-alcohols, such as the etha- nol made primarily from corn in the U.S., and biodiesels, which are made from fatty acids. Both are no more than additives in gas or diesel, unless an engine is specially designed to run on them.

The next wave of alternative fuel hopefuls could be synthetic analogues—fuels created by genetically en- gineered bacteria, designed to be completely compatible with engines that run on fossil fuel. Today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the University of Exeter led by John Love announced that they‘ve produced one such biofuel with plans to push toward commercial application.

„Modern engines have coevolved with fossil fuels, and for an engine to function optimally, it needs high-quality fuel—fossil fuels offer that very high quality,“ Love tells PopMech. He says those biofuel additives hurt the fuel quality when added to gas, and so his research team set about to create a new synthetic fuel that could be just as good as petroleum-derived products and work with today‘s engines. „The challenge we faced,“ he says, „was finding a way to make the fuel that the retail industry needs biologically, rather than mining it from the ground.“

Original sources: