By Jasmine Lowe
Imagine producing fuel that powers planes, trains and
automobiles with the same elements that make your lawn grow.
Well in Cambridge, Mass.sachusetts, a biotechnology company says
it can do just that.
A genetically engineered organism, invented by Joule Unlimited,
secretes diesel fuel or ethanol wherever it finds water, sunlight,
The company claims that it can manipulate the organism to
produce the renewable fuels at extraordinary rates.
The production can take place at large or small facilities at
costs equivalent to the most economical of fossil fuels.
This is a great short-term solution until we find something more
“green” that lowers our energy emissions even more.
This is a positive step in the right direction toward the United
States being an energy independent country.
According to Joule Unlimited’s website, the company claims to be
able to produce 15,000 gallons of diesel and 25,000 gallons of
ethanol per acre per year.
The company also says that the diesel that they produce is
different from biodiesel.
They have “developed and patented a highly-efficient process for
converting wasteCO2 [carbon dioxide]directly into liquid
hydrocarbons, requiring no processing, cracking or refining.”
The company says by doing this they “cut out the middle man” of
having to derive their fuel from vegetable, animal or algal oils
and fats that depend on raw material feed stocks, costly harvesting
and downstream processing.
Joule Unlimited is taking steps toward making fuel more
Obviously many are skeptical of Joule Unlimited’s claims, but
further research into this subject can iron out all of the
While synthetic biology or genetically engineered products are
often questionable, if these claims are true and further research
and development are done to further this technology, we can solve
many of the world’s energy problems.
This new technology could stop the constant worry over severing
ties with foreign oil producing countries.
On Feb. 23 the price of oil rose to its highest level since
September 2008 due to worries from traders that protests in Egypt
and Libyan unrest could spread across the Middle East.
The rise in prices has been driven by violence in Libya, where
rebels and forces loyal to the North African nation’s leader,
Moammar Gadhafi, continued to escalate.
Even the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by British
Petroleum has had U.S. citizens and government officials crying out
for alternative energy plans.
The Deepwater Horizon Spill that was a result of failed safety
measures from BP had an estimated 62,000 barrels per day, and later
tapered to 53,000barrels per day.
Eventually BP engineers were able to cap the well, of oil
flowing from the sea floor that had been flowing for three months
after the initial wellhead explosion.
Images of tar balls washing up on the shores of the Gulf, oil
sheen trails seen in the wake of fishing boats, wetlands marsh
grass remains fouled and dying.
These images were accompanied by the harsh reality of oil
covered marine life and speculations that the recently dead baby
dolphins washing on shore in the same area also had something to do
with the devastating spill.
The devastation caused by this incident plagued the minds of
Americans and started to make us think about other possible energy
The Mass. based company’s idea promises a shot at a better more
fuel conscience tomorrow.
Illustration by Aaron Castrejon / The Poly Post
Filling up with all-natural fuel
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