Monday, November 03, 2008

Cellulose to Diesel via SA Fungus

Nature uses sunlight, CO2 and water to create massive amounts of cellulosic biomass every year. The potential energy tied up in biomass will prove crucial in the effort to move from fossil fuels to more renewable forms of energy, over the next few decades. One microbial lifeform from the Patagonian wilds may boost the effort to convert biomass to fuels in an efficient manner.
What's exciting about the Gliocladium roseum fungus, however, is that it can both break down cellulose and synthesize the liquid fuel.

"A step in the production process could be skipped," Strobel said in a press release.

...."Its ultimate value may reside in the genes/enzymes that control hydrocarbon production, and our paper is a necessary first step that may lead to development programmes to make this a commercial venture."

The genome of the fungus is being analyzed at Yale University under the direction of Scott Strobel, a molecular biologist and Gary Strobel's son.

But beyond the biofuel implications, Strobel said that because the fungus can manufacture what we would normally think of as components of crude oil, it casts some doubt on the idea that crude oil is a fossil fuel.

"It may be the case that organisms like this produced some — maybe not all — but some of the world's crude," Strobel said. _Wired
Yes, and possibly some of the crude arose from abiotic sources. We simply do not know everything about the past or present--much less the future--of our planet.

Currently, the humans on the planet require energy, lots of energy. Many politicians of a moronic nature have threatened to prevent the development of clean coal, oil sands, oil shale, nuclear fission, and other critical energy "bridge technologies" between an oil economy and a more sustainable energy economy. Such foolish lightweight minds such as Gore, Obama, Pelosi, Salazar, Boxer, and the rest want to trifle with the future of the only intelligent species known to exist in the universe. That type of mentality should not go unchallenged, or be taken lightly. It should be dealt with firmly by those who understand basic underlying energy economics in the context of an increasingly unstable world political situation.

Unfortunately, the election of a narcissistic ideologue and radical to the US Presidency will do nothing but aggravate an already dangerously labile dynamic.



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