New Invention: Bacteria Eating CO2 From The Atmosphere

craig-venter.jpgA scientist who mapped his genome and the genetic diversity of the oceans said Thursday he is creating a life form that feeds on climate-ruining carbon dioxide to produce fuel.

Craig Venter (in the picture), a famous geneticist, announced his “fourth-generation fuel” project at an elite Technology, Entertainment and Design conference in Monterey, California. Between the audience was Al Gore and Larry Page, co-founder of Google.

“We think we will have fourth-generation fuels in about 18 months, with CO2 as the fuel stock. We have 20 million genes which I call the design components of the future,” Venter said. “We are limited here only by our imagination.”

He also said that the biofuels are the third generation of fuels, and the fourth will feed with the byproducts of the third.

“If they could produce things on the scale we need, this would be a methane planet,” Venter said. “The scale is what is critical; which is why we need to genetically design them.”

The genetics of octane-producing organisms can be regulated to increase the amount of CO2 they eat and the amount of octane they output, according to Venter.

Scientists put “suicide genes” into their living creations so that if they escape the lab, they can be triggered to kill themselves.

Venter said he is also working on organisms that make vaccines for the flu and other illnesses.

“We will see an exponential change in the pace of the sophistication of organisms and what they can do,” Venter said.

“We are a ways away from designing people. Our goal is just to make sure they survive long enough to do that.”

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Comments

  • Genesis Turner

    Hey guys, Could be the U.S. far better off staying with Syria’s Assad?

  • Al Gore

    Carbon Dioxide does not ruin the climate.
    How absurd and just a cheap money making scheme.
    What would happen to plants without C02?
    They would die, the Earth would become a wasteland.
    Such stupid crazy people trying to destroy the planet by getting rid of a natural gases such as C02.
    These people are religious extremists.

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  • Spanish company touts process to turn urban waste into biodiesel
    By Ron Kotrba

    A group of Spanish developers working under the company name Ecofasa, headed by chief executive officer and inventor Francisco Angulo, has developed a biochemical process to turn urban solid waste into a fatty acid biodiesel feedstock. “It took more than 10 years working on the idea of producing biodiesel from domestic waste using a biological method,” Angulo told Biodiesel Magazine. “My first patent dates back to 2005. It was first published in 2007 in Soto de la Vega, Spain, thanks to the council and its representative Antonio Nevado.”

    Using microbes to convert organic material into energy isn’t a new concept to the renewable energy industries, and the same can be said for the anaerobic digestion of organic waste by microbes, which turns waste into biogas consisting mostly of methane. However, using bacteria to convert urban waste to fatty acids, which can then be used as a feedstock for biodiesel production, is a new twist. The Spanish company calls this process and the resulting fuel Ecofa. “It is based on metabolism’s natural principle by means of which all living organisms, including bacteria, produce fatty acids,” Angula said. “[It] comes from the carbon of any organic waste.”

    He defined urban waste as “organic wastes from home like food, paper, wood and dung,” and added that any carbon-based material can be used for biodiesel production under the Ecofa process. “For many years, I wondered why there are pools of oil in some mountains,” he said, explaining the reasoning behind his invention. “After delving into the issue, I realized that [those oil deposits] were produced by decomposing organic living microorganisms.” This, in Angulo’s mind, sparked the idea that food waste and bacteria could be turned into fatty acids that could react into biodiesel. Two types of bacteria are under further development by Biotit Scientific Biotechnology Laboratory in Seville, Spain: E. coli and Firmicutes. The Ecofa process also produces methane gas, and inconvertible solids that can be used as a soil amendment or fertilizer. “There is a huge variety of bacteria,” Angulo said. “Currently, [biodiesel producers] receive a fat that must be processed through transesterification into biodiesel, but we are also working on other types of bacteria that are capable of producing fatty acids with the same characteristics as biodiesel.” He said this would eventually allow producers to skip the transesterification step.

    Ecofasa may avoid the ongoing food-versus-fuel debate and its expected successor, indirect land use, with its Ecofa process. “It would not be necessary to use specific fields of maize, wheat, barley, beets, etc., which would remain for human consumption without creating distortions or famines with unforeseeable consequences,” the company stated in a press release. “This microbial technique can be extended to other organic debris, plants or animals, such as those contained in urban sewage. You can even experiment with other carbon sources, and this opens up a lot of possibilities. It is only necessary to find the appropriate bacteria.”

    The company created its name by combining the term “eco-combustible” with F.A., the initials of the inventor.

    “Today we feel that we can produce between one and two liters [of biodiesel] per 10 kilograms of trash,” Angulo said. That’s a little more than one-fourth to one-half of a gallon for every 22 pounds of trash—or between 24 and 48 gallons per ton of urban waste. “We are working to improve that,” he said.