Renewable petroleum

 

Courtesy : www.popsi.com

 

 

When I wrote the last post from waste to scarce, I didn’t know, some people are experimenting to manufacture “renewable petroleum” with help of some bacterias, that eat waste and excrete petrol. Interesting!! Ahh!!

Crude oil and so petrol is just few molecular stages removed from acids normally excreted by yeast E coli during fermentation!! Amazing!!

According to Dr. Greg Pal (From LS9 companies, doing R & D on renewable petroleum “To be more precise: the genetic alteration of bugs – very, very small ones – so that when they feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw, they do something extraordinary. They excrete crude oil.” Sound like science fiction.. No? (Courtesy : http://www.nextnature.net/2008/12/bacteria-that-eat-waste-shit-petrol/)

This renewable petroleum is also called Oil 2.0. Dr. Pal claims that it is not only renewable but also carbon negative- meaning that the carbon it emits will be less than that sucked from the atmosphere by the raw materials from which it is made.

Using genetically modified bugs for fermentation is essentially the same as using natural bacteria to produce ethanol, although the energy-intensive final process of distillation is virtually eliminated because the bugs excrete a substance that is almost pump-ready.

Only constraint, not allowing this product to come in market, is space. Space required for production machine to meet today’s demand of petroleum is just unmanageable, when free land is also a scarce resource. :(

Another company working on similar product is Amyris Biotechnologies. According to it, “the main alternative to petroleum, ethanol (a type of alcohol), is fraught with problems. It can’t be pumped through current infrastructure because it tends to corrode pipelines. And according to University of Minnesota economist Jason Hill, even if all the corn grown in the U.S. were converted to ethanol, it would replace only some 12 percent of the 146 billion gallons of gasoline we use every year. Cellulosic ethanol—fuel produced from the cellulosic matter contained in plant stalks and stems rather than from seeds—would solve that problem, but the technology to produce it on a large scale is still a way off. Plus, ethanol simply isn’t as energy dense as petroleum-based fuels.

(Courtesy :http://www.popsci.com/environment/article/2008-04/breeding-oil-bug)

So, friends, lot of promising products are getting ready to bring us out from problems, arising due to scarcity of petroleum. Cheer up now!! :)