Microbial Communities Will Provide Viable Alternatives for Fossil Fuel Power

Scientists try to create a win-win situation between humankind and microbial communities

By on October 28th, 2011 09:37 GMT

Bruce Rittmann and his team of scientists are trying to use microorganisms to develop viable alternatives for about 70 percent of the fossil fuel the industry currently uses, before humankind runs out of its traditional sources of energy.

Rittmann is a professor at the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, and he also directs the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Biodesign Institute at ASU.

He is trying to establish a win-win situation, applying the benefits of microbial communities which are everywhere, while creating “a true partnership between the microbial workers and the human managers.”

His intention is to handle microbial communities in order to provide effective solutions to emerging environmental problems, such as water contamination and fossil fuel extinction.

He is also focusing on using his microscopical subjects to determine a more sustainable way of manufacturing green fuels and introducing improved paths of exploiting the renewable sources of power.

Recently, Rittmann was excited to declare that his efforts have paid off in this field of activity. He affirmed that he managed to substantially improve his “photosynthetic factory” concept, which is supposed to transform bacteria into fuel molecules.

Once out of the lab and available in every power plant in the country, the technology will make the major companies on the market increase their profit margins like no other green alternative has done it before.

Also, it would certainly represent an improvement in terms of air quality conservation, since it would replace the power of coal-burned fuel, which implies a considerable amount of greenhouse gas.

Based on an innovative technology, the scientists explain how it is possible to obtain cost-efficient fuel from photosynthetic bacteria. The microorganisms absorb sunlight and later on transform it into fuel molecules.

Further more, the researcher states that sustainability is misunderstood.

The concept does not refer to saving the planet, it is related to our efforts of investing in a lifestyle which would be more compatible with our planet's needs and resources.

“It is important to remember that the issue of sustainability is mostly about sustaining human society. It is not about sustaining the Earth or nature. The Earth and nature do not need human beings to survive. Instead, humans need to live compatibly with Earth and nature,” concluded Ritmann.

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Rittmann is a professor at the School of  Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, and he also directs the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Biodesign Institute at ASU.
   Rittmann is a professor at the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, and he also directs the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Biodesign Institute at ASU.
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