Everyone’s heard the buzz about finding “greener” ways to provide sustainable energy but, with most sustainable technologies still far from being feasible on a large scale, an unlikely source may be the key to a greener tomorrow – bacteria.
According to Colin Barras at NewScientist, bacteria may hold the key to developing technologies that significantly reduce our impact on the planet. In addition to eating our waste, bacteria may be able provide our fuel. More than a decade ago Eugene Premuzic at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, found bacteria able to clean the sulphur and nitrogen from crude oil. He demonstrated that bacteria could provide a way to meet restrictions on fuel quality in the US and EU designed to reduce smog and acid rain.
Lee Lynd of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire has shown that bacteria are also helping with the development of cleaner successors to oil. Genetically engineered bacteria can ferment cellulose from plant waste to produce ethanol.
Bacteria is becoming of as much interest to engineers looking to create green technologies as it is to scientists. For more information, go to: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16841-how-our-green-technology-may-rest-on-bacterial-skills.html