A new “bioreactor” could store electricity as liquid fuel with the help of a genetically engineered microbe and copious carbon dioxide. The idea—dubbed “electrofuels” by a federal agency funding the research—could offer electricity storage that would have the energy density of fuels such as gasoline. If it works, the hybrid bioelectric system would also offer a more efficient way of turning sunlight to fuel than growing plants and converting them into biofuel.
“The method provides a way to store electrical energy in a form that can be readily used as a transportation fuel,” chemical engineer James Liao of the University of California, Los Angeles, explains. Liao and his colleagues report on their “integrated electro-microbial bioreactor” in Science on March 30.
Tags: “Electrofuels”, integrated electro-microbial bioreactor, Ralstonia eutropha
Source: Scientific American, 2012-03-30.