Converting Carbon Dioxide into Liquid Fuel with Bacteria

Due to global warming, many researchers have been working with the idea of removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But if you could help the environment and use that carbon dioxide to make fuel at the same time, how great would that be? It would be like shooting two rabbits with one bullet.

Researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have been working on genetically modifying cyonobacterium, as explained in this article. They experimented with Synechoccus elongates and genetically increased the quantity of the carbon dioxide-fixing enzyme RuBisCO. The bacteria then naturally consumes the CO2 and generates the liquid fuel isobutanol through photosynthesis.

Isobutanol can be a great advantage over other biofuels, because it recycles CO2 and can help the environment. It also uses solar energy to convert CO2 into liquid fuel, unlike the other plant and algae-derived processes, which require many intermediate steps that could be expensive and time consuming. The researchers are currently working on increasing the rate and yield of production, and solving problems such as the efficiency of light distribution and reducing the costs of bioreactors.


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