If it scales to industry, a new approach to biofuels could be transformative in alternative fuel production, according to Derek Lovley, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA. The team’s truly green fuel source is efficient, carbon neutral, and uses carbon dioxide as a raw material.
Microbial electrosynthesis, they explain, goes directly from carbon dioxide to fuel as the microbes “feed” on electrons in what is essentially a new form of photosynthesis. The process circumvents the excessive water consumption and post-production fermentation needed by conventional biofuel production.
- Microbial Electrosynthesis: Feeding Microbes Electricity To Convert Carbon Dioxide and Water to Multicarbon Extracellular Organic Compounds
K. Nevin, T. Woodard, A. Franks, Z. Summers, D. Lovley,
mBio 2010, 1, online e00103-10.