Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Never Bet Against Biology

Microbe matchmakers create "bug buddy" mixed cultures of micro-organisms that turn each others' waste products into fuel.

Synthetic biology can create new types of microbes and microbe communities for biofuel production (instead of "match-making" among existing types of microbes)

New method to screen microbes more quickly for biofuel synthesis potential

New Oregon "waste to biobutanol" initiative (Diesel Brewing)

Promise of economic expansion from intensive enzymatic "cellulosic biomass to ethanol" conversion in China

Compared to the huge expenditures in oil, gas, coal, and nuclear energy, next generation biofuels and bioenergy is still small potatoes. But every multi-billion dollar industry had to start somewhere.

This planet is special for its ability to produce massive amounts of new biomass every year. But biomass is not a zero-sum game. As long as we have enough sunlight and CO2, we can expand our biomass production as much as we want. There is no shortage of land -- microbes and algae can grow in the desert, along the seashore, on seastead floating bioreactors, and on high-rise microbe / algal "farms."

Never bet against biology. It is almost certain to have the last laugh.



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