30 März 2012

Fossil Free: Microbe Helps Convert Solar Power to Liquid Fuel

By pairing biology and photovoltaics, a new "electrofuel" system could build alternative fuels

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.

… Full Text: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=microbe-uses-solar-electricity-to-build-liquid-fuel

Tags: “Electrofuels”, integrated electro-microbial bioreactor, Ralstonia eutropha

Source: Scientific American, 2012-03-30.

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