Making diesel with sun, water, CO2

  • Thread starter Evo
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  • #1
Evo
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It will be interesting to see if anything comes out of this. Sounds too good to be true.
Joule Unlimited has invented a genetically-engineered organism that it says simply secretes diesel fuel or ethanol wherever it finds sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based company says it can manipulate the organism to produce the renewable fuels on demand at unprecedented rates, and can do it in facilities large and small at costs comparable to the cheapest fossil fuels.

Joule claims, for instance, that its cyanobacterium can produce 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel per acre annually, over four times more than the most efficient algal process for making fuel. And they say they can do it at $30 a barrel.

A key for Joule is the cyanobacterium it chose, which is found everywhere and is less complex than algae, so it's easier to genetically manipulate, said biologist Dan Robertson, Joule's top scientist.

The organisms are engineered to take in sunlight and carbon dioxide, then produce and secrete ethanol or hydrocarbons — the basis of various fuels, such as diesel — as a byproduct of photosynthesis.

The company envisions building facilities near power plants and consuming their waste carbon dioxide, so their cyanobacteria can reduce carbon emissions while they're at it.
Continued...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110227/ap_on_bi_ge/us_growing_fuel [Broken]
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
DevilsAvocado
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Wow interesting!

Helioculture_image.png
 
  • #3
One can hope. These things have a way of turning out a lot more expensive than expected. Go Joule, prove me wrong, please?
 
  • #5
Astronuc
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There has been considerable work in the areas of extremophiles (anerobic bacteria living under high temperature and high pressure conditions) and Fischer-Tropsch Syntheses. The goal would be to recycle CO2 using sunlight.
 
  • #6
The big energy companies are watching, but their strategy may well be to acquire small companies that seem to be progressing well and lock up the technology until they are ready to implement it.
I believe that the idea that big energy companies can lock up technology is a canard. If you look at the history of science (and technology), things tend to pop out in multiple locations once their time has arrived. It is very common to have several individuals publish almost simultaneously: See Calculus or Evolution.

It is the same as old story about the 50 mile a gallon carburetor that supposedly the oil companies have been hiding. If it were truly possible, the Chinese would have done it. After all they have a great need for oil (increasing efficiency is the same as increasing supply), couldn't care less about our energy companies and have lots of great scientists and engineers.
 
  • #7
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I believe that the idea that big energy companies can lock up technology is a canard. If you look at the history of science (and technology), things tend to pop out in multiple locations once their time has arrived. It is very common to have several individuals publish almost simultaneously: See Calculus or Evolution.
\[PLAIN]http://earth911.com/news/2009/07/15/exxon-invests-600m-in-biofuel-from-algae/[/URL] [Broken]

I'm not sure you're bringing up the relevant issues. Exxon is already investing over $600 million in biofuel research with micro-organisms, and like any large industrial company, they are always looking at useful acquisitions. It's also clear that no industrial company in a competitive marketplace is going to cannibalize it's successful products; in this case oil and gas. Exxon has the resources for financing large scale production and distribution and will do so with biofuel when it makes sense for them: that is, when it can't make enough money in oil and gas.
 
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  • #8
I am just saying that they can't sit on it. If Exxon doesn't do it, the Chinese or someone else will. It is impossible to suppress a technology that has come of age in a competitive World. Not when you are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars.

The large oil companies will not starve with the coming of biofuels. The fuel still needs to be refined, and distributed and sold. The oil companies have the networks so they will take it over. The people who will suffer will be the producers of "wild" oil like Saudi Arabia or Iraq.
 

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