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Super Microbes Create Better Ethanol

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posted on Jan, 9 2008 @ 11:47 AM

Ethanol is often touted as a promising alternative fuel, but this "biofuel" packs less energy than gasoline.

Now scientists are genetically engineering microbes that can crank out higher-energy biofuels.

Ethanol, more commonly known as drinking or grain alcohol, is increasingly finding its way into gas tanks. Unlike fossil fuels, which are limited resources, biofuels such as ethanol can get renewably brewed from biological material such as sugar.

However, ethanol's energy content is just two-thirds that of gasoline by volume. In addition, ethanol can corrode metal and plastic, damaging car parts and gas pumps.

Scientists are trying to develop new ways to synthesize better alcohols. These "higher alcohols" also are not corrosive like ethanol is, explained UCLA biotechnologist and chemical engineer James Liao.

Although microbes often produce copious amounts of ethanol during fermentation, germs do not naturally generate significant volumes of higher alcohols. Now UCLA researchers have genetically engineered a strain of E. coli — a bacterium commonly found in human guts — to produce several higher alcohols from sugar.

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posted on Jan, 9 2008 @ 11:49 AM
Now this is what I am talking about. Better quality biofuels with no corn used. Using the microbes to eat anything with cellulose to produce this without dipping into the food supply is great.
This could be something that the average person can have in their garages at home....make your own biofuel.

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