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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hope and change via bioengineering

Related Link » Direct photosynthetic recycling of carbon dioxide to isobutyraldehyde
“One approach to [the reduction of CO2 emissions] is to recycle CO2 directly into fuels or chemicals using photosynthesis [in cyanobacteria]. Here we genetically engineered Synechococcus elongatus [a cyanobacterium] ... to produce isobutyraldehyde and isobutanol directly from CO2 ... Isobutyraldehyde is a precursor for the synthesis of other chemicals, and isobutanol can be used as a gasoline substitute.”
— ‘Shota Atsumi, et al., Nature Biotechnology 27, 1177 - 1180 (2009)’

If we stipulate that the energy of sunlight [photo-] and the work of cyanobacteria [synthesis] are essentially free, then this process might just be that elusive "free lunch", namely the production of a gasoline substitute plus other useful chemicals. And, as an added bonus, the recycling of CO2 becomes "free desert":
sunlight + CO2 → [photosynthesis] → isobutanol + isobutyraldehyde + O2
If cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) could become the rescuers of planet Earth from climatic disaster, then we should focus on blue-green energy, instead of that old fashioned green energy. Now that's the kind of change I can believe in — based on legitimate science and bioengineering, as opposed to illegitimate climate-proctology.


Post #1,042 Hope and change via bioengineering

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