Bacteria Converts Organic Waste into Biodiesel
LS9 Researchers create a special strain of bacteria that converts sugar into biodiesel
One of the “holy grails” of biofuel and biodiesel technology has been the ability to create usable fuels directly from organic waste products. Recently, researchers at LS9 in San Francisco have developed a special strain of bacteria, which readily converts sugar into biodiesel. This biodiesel is exactly like petroleum based diesel as far as the engine is concerned, and requires only minimal post-extraction processing to remove any stray microbes or undigested sugar compounds.
Already several pilot biodiesel production plants have been built in Florida and California, taking advantage of large facilities left unused and bankrupt in the recession. Unfortunately it appears that LS9 will not be able to bring production up to a commercial scale for some time, and current sugar prices make biodiesel much more expensive than the naturally extracted counterpart. Still, it is hoped that LS9’s very special microbes will be able to create a biodiesel that is competitive in price with petroleum based diesel fuel as prices rise in the near future.
Other environmentally friendly biodiesel and biofuel sources that we've covered include the jatropha plant, sugarcane, city waste, and gribble worms. These technologies as well as that developed by LS9 demonstrate that biofuel and biodiesel which is chemically identical to its environmentally unfriendly counterpart is very possible, and that research into various options yields tangible benefits which may be immediately applicable to our near future energy needs.