Gallery: New Microbe Could Turn Carbon Emissions in the Atmosphere Into...

 

Scientists at the University of Georgia just announced that they have found a way to capture and transform carbon dioxide into useful industrial products. Although the technology is in its infancy, it could allow scientists to produce biofuels from carbon dioxide extracted from the atmosphere. The technology could help combat global warming while providing a new source of energy.

According to Michael Adams of UGA’s Bioenergy Systems Research Institute, the technology is similar to the process of photosynthesis in plants. Plants process carbon dioxide into sugars that can be fermented into usable fuels, but UGA’s research cuts out plants as the processor. The process hinges upon a microorganism called Pyrococcus furiosus, which lives and thrives on the carbon dioxide emitted in the areas of our oceans that are heated to high temperatures by geothermal vents. UGA’s team has manipulated the P. furiosus to feed and process carbon dioxide at a much lower temperature, making it more usable and easier to control.

Adding hydrogen to the process, Adams and the team created a chemical reaction that turned carbon dioxide into the industrial chemical 3-hydroxypropionic acid. The fuel created by the bacteria gives off the same amount of CO2 that was used to make it, which technically makes it a carbon neutral fuel. The development will open the doors for research on transforming harmful carbon dioxide into a useful source of energy.

Via Phys Org

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