Canadian Consulting Engineer

E-coli could turn out to be liquid gold

A team of researchers at the University of Essex in England is developing a way of producing diesel fuel on demand. To do so the researchers led by Professor John Love are using what we might flush down the toilet and through a sewage treatment...

April 30, 2013   Canadian Consulting Engineer

A team of researchers at the University of Essex in England is developing a way of producing diesel fuel on demand. To do so the researchers led by Professor John Love are using what we might flush down the toilet and through a sewage treatment plant — E.coli bacteria.

Unlike diesel produced by plants, the diesel produced by special strains of E.coli is almost identical to conventional diesel fuel and so does not need to be blended with petroleum in order to make it usable in existing fuel engines. As well regular pipelines and tankers could carry the e-coli diesel without needing to be modified.

The challenge, of course, is finding a way of commercializing the E-coli biofuel, although according to the reports, large scale manufacturing using E-coli as a catalyst is already common in the pharmaceutical industry.

The researchers hope to replace conventional diesel with a carbon neutral biofuel as a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: phys.org, referencing Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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