CO2 Will Be Taken Directly From The Atmosphere And Turned Into Fuel
Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, a group of researchers at the University of Georgia’s Bioenergy Systems Research Institute has addressed the problem of capturing carbon dioxide emissions at their source to reduce the amount expelled into the atmosphere. Inspired by the process of photosynthesis, whereby plants use sunlight to transform water and carbon dioxide into sugars they use for energy, they have devised a way to take CO2 from the atmosphere and transform it into useful industrial products. Manipulating the genetic material of Pyrococcus furiosus or “rushing fireball,” they created a microorganism that feeds on carbohydrates in the super-heated ocean waters and modified it to be able to feed at lower temperatures. They then used hydrogen gas to create a chemical reaction in the microorganism that incorporates CO2 into 3-hydroxypropionic acid. Michael Adams, the lead researcher, reports “we can take carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere and turn it into useful products without having to go through the inefficient process of growing plants and extracting sugars from biomass.” Other genetic manipulations could let the organism produce other products, including fuels, but currently cycle relies on fossil fuels because the researchers use hydrogen as the source of energy. In the nearest future the researchers intend to refine the process and test it on a larger scale.