Scientists find bugs that eat waste and excrete petrol

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by BoyBach, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

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    #1
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article4133668.ece


    My apologies for the length of the quote, but I found this to be an interesting article and wanted to share.
     
  2. a104375 macrumors 6502

    a104375

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    #3
    whatever is in that container is disgusting...
     
  3. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

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    #4
    It's really carbon neutral? Hmm, it's an idea.
     
  4. runplaysleeprun macrumors 6502a

    runplaysleeprun

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    #5
    I was thinking this was from
    the onion for a few paragraphs.
     
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #6
    It's a great concept, and it could also have bioremediation implications as well. Crude oil is made from once alive organisms, so it's great to see biology come back into the equation. I hope it does become a useful technology on some scale.
     
  6. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #7
    it could at least make an impact

    im also excited about the algea to petroleum
     
  7. Baron58 macrumors 6502

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    #8
    The best solution is to make biodiesel from algae. Any power that needs to go into the process can come from wind and thermosolar (not solar panels). You can get over 100,000 gallons/acre/year with current technology, and I believe that 92 (?) square miles of the desert southwest would provide for all of our fuel needs. While the process is ramping up, the market could be shifting to clean diesel cars and diesel hybrids (instead of gas hybrids like the Prius, etc.)

    This is completely carbon-neutral and environmentally-friendly. It uses *no* food crops or other biomass, therefore it does not compete with other biomass-to-fuel concepts. So, you can make diesel from algae and ethanol from switchgrass or other cellulose crops/waste, and they don't compete with each other for resources.
     
  8. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    #9
    me too.

    yeah if it works, awesome. but certainly i don't see how it could be applied to large scale usage/consumption such as our current rate. but for smaller things that need oil this maybe a solution for an alternative.
     
  9. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #10
    Good idea.

    Be curious to see if it really works.
     
  10. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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  11. Vster macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Love the Algae thing and the bug deal, and the carbon neutral thing. A+ for environment! :D
     
  12. akm3 macrumors 68020

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    #13
    But it's carbon NEGATIVE. You can all be certain that if we were to actually do this, we'd have the global cooling crisis back at the forefront of news again.

    "A new ice age!"

    Shame on us for sucking all that carbon out of the atmosphere.

    The only solution that will keep them happy is for all humans to return to living in caves and eating gathered berries.
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #14
    I don't get it. This new Oil 2.0 will let us run our cars with cheaper petrol, but does "Carbon negative" mean it doesn't pollute? Hell, I'd rather have oil prices stay high if it means pollution from car usage drops a bit.
     
  14. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #15
    I'm going to theorize it means yes it does pollute, but it takes more carbon out of the system on the front than it puts back in at the rear.

    How about that.
     
  15. stagi macrumors 65816

    stagi

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  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #17
    But I don't see how this decreases the amount of crap we pump into the air. It just keeps our current tech around for longer, and this current technology isn't exactly wonderful for the Earth. I just hope this doesn't discourage the development of alternative energy sources. I don't care if we can now make it without relying on the Middle East. I don't want to be burning oil forever.
     
  17. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

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    #18
    It doesn't need to entirely replace usage - if it supplements usage, it effectively reduces consumption of Oil 1.0 (!) and would allow oil prices to fall significantly. That would be enough to buy us time to develop alternative fuels further. With a production cost of $50pb, its unlikely to drive oil prices much below $100 though - even if it works.

    Does it remind anyone of Back to the Future II where the DeLorean was powered by household waste?

    The huge difference is we would be using carbon that was sucked out of the atmosphere last year rather than 10's of millions of years ago. The carbon issue would be significantly reduced.
     
  18. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #19
    this is amazing! id hate to be that bug but hahahaha.
     
  19. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #20
    Silicon Valley biotech start up issues press release regarding currently non-working experimental technology to raise venture capital.

    I want to be the cynic in the thread.
     
  20. tominated macrumors 68000

    tominated

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    #21
    wow, very interesting, but to go from a software engineer to genetic engineer...
     
  21. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #22
    They have Vinod Khosla's support. It doesn't seem that they're doing altogether shabbily on that front. :p
     
  22. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

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    #23
    It's dumb.
    No, it's REALLY dumb.
    One thing we DON'T need is more environmentally unfriendly hydrocarbons. Why not use the time and money and energy to come up with alternative energy sources? Forward thinking? Hardly. It's some guy who got a grant and has absolutely no forward thought. And the biotech start-up seeking capital comment? Brilliant, because that is the answer. And while I've always believed that ANY research is good research, in this case I'd rather see them work on something more legitimate.
     
  23. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #24
    (Anyway, I interpret their carbon statement as indicating that the process of making the biofuel does not pollute in net, but the cars that use it are on their own).

    However, I don't think our current technology does all that badly. Have you looked at the specifications on what a PZEV automobile emits? It can get better yet, of course. But emissions technology has come a long way from the pre-LEV cars of the 90's to LEV in the early 2000s, LEV-II in the mid-2000's, and today's emissions offerings. If every car on the road were LEV-II or better (i.e. if the US had emissions laws like Japan that make it pretty unreasonable to drive anything more than six years old), and if commercial trucks were held to more stringent environmental regulations, the amount of emissions from cars would be reduced dramatically.

    And don't forget that other fossil fuels besides gasoline (*cough* coal) contribute substantially to pollution. Hybrid electric cars, clean burning gasoline cars, and clean burning diesel cars all have the potential to address the pollution issue in part through continued emissions gains. But what if the cars were electric? If the cars were electric, then you would actually have to wake up and address the pollution that is coming from the power plants. Creating an electric car doesn't solve this issue -- it just makes it worse.
     
  24. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #25
    No not at all but you can never have too much cash ;). I'd be more interested if they had it scaled or published in a peer-reviewed source. Until then they're a company attaining premature publicity (possibly for the right reasons but it's always worth remaining skeptical).

    I'm especially reserved as Pal thinks organisms a fraction of a billionth the size of an ant exist. Or perhaps it's sloppy journalism.
     

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