Bacteria that produce oil – Renewable Petroleum – Oil 2.0

Why go through the trouble of shipping oil dug up from the ground when you can produce it from stuff you were just going to throw away for less?

That’s the attitude of LS9, a company specializing in the production of “DesignerBiofuels.”

LS9 is using genetically modified strains of bacteria (industrial yeast, or non pathogenic strains of E. Coli) that produce crude oil as a by product. You can feed them pretty much any food that can be broken down into sugars, such as wheat straw or wood chips, and they’ll provide you with oil.

They’ve deemed the renewable petroleum produced by the bacteria “Oil 2.0.”

Advantages of LS9 DesignerBiofuels Technology:

- Unlike with hydrogen fuel cell technology, this technology would not require our current infrastructure to change since we’d still be using oil, it’d just be coming from a different source.

- LS9 also claims that their oil is runs at a carbon negative which means that the amount of carbon thrown into the atmosphere by burning the oil is actually less than the amount of carbon the plant from which the oil is made initially absorbed.

- It requires less refining. The refining process of light sweet crude is a fairly energy intensive process. The oil produced by LS9 bacteria requires minimal refining and could theoretically be put into your tank without any further refining at all.

Disadvantage of LS9 DesignerBiofuels Technology:

- Of course, it’s not quite ready for prime time yet, because just like the first computers, it’s a rather space intensive process. A plant that could supply all of our oil in America would require a plant that covered roughly 200 square miles – about the size of Chicago.

- A full scale commercial facility won’t be ready to go until 2011, so even if this technology took hold, it’s still probably a decade from putting a major dent in the amount of oil we need to import from foreign countries.

While there may be greener technologies in the pipeline, I am still encouraged to see this type of technology being worked on. While one type of alternative energy like solar or wind power may not take over 100%, if all these new technologies did a little, we could greatly reduce the amount of oil we use on a daily basis, and could produce enough of our own oil that we wouldn’t need to import it from foreign countries.

If I hear anything further about this technology, I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

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Posted: June 16th, 2008
at 6:41pm by Fuel Saver


Categories: Fuel Technology

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