Sunday, March 02, 2008

Microorganism that makes fuel from CO2?

Had to comment. This yahoo article claims that an organism is being created to make CO2 into methane.

How interesting. Methanogens have been growing in rumens and colons for, say, a few hundred million years?

Of course, methane is more of a greenhouse gas than CO2. A better approach is to learn to use less fuel, period. Live closer to work, fewer commutes, fewer vehicles used for commutes, would be both greener and healthier, compared to finding a new wonder fuel.

Im sure that he's doing interesting things with them genetically, but this looks more like self promotion than innovation.


  1. I read the yahoo article. One thing that it completely omits is : what is the source of energy that is used by the micoorganism to convert CO2 into methene? Is it sunlight, like in photosynthesis? Or some other source. You can't get a free lunch, no matter what the microorganism. I suspect that it is this source of energy that may come in they way of scaling up this technology. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

  2. Assuming these organisms are anaerobic, CO2 serves as an electron sink. Reducing potential is left on the CO2, which goes through methanol on the way to methane. The enzymes involved are highly anareobic, and won't work in oxygenated systems. This is why sewage treatment plants make methane, which also occurs in anaerobic sediments, rumens (what the press calls 'cow stomach'), colon, and (I think) some of those nifty volcanic vent bacteria.

    Try this link for a better description:

    I suppose that if the novel process moved some genes into photosynthetics or aerobic organisms, that would be a novel system.