Post Oil: Electrofuels Are an Oil-Substitute Minus the Eons
(Christian Science Monitor) … Pamela Silver and her colleagues aim to compress the oil-forming process to nearly instantaneous, with some carbon dioxide, a dash of electricity, and a lot of help from the diminutive star of her Harvard Medical School lab in Boston: Shewanella oneidensis, a bacteria found in deepwater sediment. Dr. Silver’s goal is to overhaul Shewanella’s biochemical digestive system to produce octanol, a hydrocarbon that can be refined and turned into a range of transportation fuels.
…Shewanella, discovered in the oxygen-starved sediment beneath New York’s Oneida Lake in 1988, has an intriguing trait: It generates a tiny electric current as it feeds on carbon-poor sources, such as metals, also buried in the muck.
But it produces more electrons than it needs. The excess flows through tiny biological wires in Shewanella’s cell walls back to the outside world. The organism, in effect, comes prewired. READ MORE