Monday, April 2, 2012

The bacteria that converts electricity into alternative fuel

We're not talking about electricity and energy used to move a car, but about the use of electricity and CO2 to get a fuel similar to gasoline. And all thanks to the diligent work of some bacteria that assimilates carbon dioxide turning it into isobutanol. Something like gasoline coming out of the plug from the wall, but thanks to genetic engineering. Now we have the possibility of a second way,when the car gasoline runs out you can put to work the solar panels from the ceiling so that the combustion engine again have the "soup" to work.

The bacteria is called Ralstonia eutropha H16 and uses electricity to convert carbon dioxide into alcohol.

The hydrogen atoms needed for this could be generated by solar panels. It's what scientists have developed at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles), something we might call electrobioreactor. This opens the door to endless fuel cells would replace the ion-lithium battery that stores the energy of electric cars, because with this this new car fuel, the car would produce its own fuel.

For the purposes of the experiment at UCLA formic acid have been used to simulate the electrical response that ideally should be produced by solar panels. Notwithstanding the application probably more efficient (at least at first) would be to not use it in small installations in the cars themselves but in processing plants where bacteria will convert waste into electricity, thus assuming an important step towards the regardless of the petroleum and in the lowering of the fuels.


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