Friday, August 26, 2011

Green: New Bacteria Turns Cellulose Into Butanol

A new bacteria, TU-103, has been found by Tulane University that can turn cellulose, like paper, into fuel.

Specifically, butanol.  What is butanol?  It’s an alcohol with four carbons and –OH, that makes it an alcohol but not the type you drink, obviously.  It’s a source of fuel.  Compared to ethanol, it has more energy.

According to Discovery, butanol can be used as an ethanol substitute which means they can go into our cars without having to change our engines.  It’s also ness corrosive.

Another advantage butanol has over ethanol from corn is that the plants that produce the needed cellulose can be grown in places where corn cannot.

Back to TU-103.  It’s discovery is very important from the standpoint that it is a natural occurring bacteria without the need for genetic modification.  And it can process cellulose in the presence of oxygen, which makes the use of TU-103 to make butanol cheaper than other forms of bacteria that requires specialized air-tight chambers.

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