Biofuel From Bacteria – New Research

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Professor Richard Kohn, an animal and avian sciences Ph.D., along with Seon-Woo Kim, a faculty research assistant at the University of Maryland has discovered a new way to produce biofuel from bacteria. They first published their findings on 7th October in Journal of Theoretical Biology.

Kohn first began his investigative work in the field way back in 2008 with an idea of applying thermodynamics laws to the fermentation process. He with his research assistant Kim have been successful by using this method to produce fuels, such as ethanol and butanol.

Mr. Khon is quoted to have said: “From an environmental standpoint, this research could help decrease dependence on fossil fuels and could lead to future methods of producing fuel out of organic matter.  We could find bacteria that takes the waste material, like cattle manure, and convert it into fuel.  Or we could take carbon dioxide and hydrogen and turn it into fuel.  We can’t make energy, but we can make a conversion of things that have the energy to a type of energy we can use.”

Dodds & Associates’s President David Dodds applauded Kohn’s novel process, and that biofuels should be embraced as much as possible in the future as, it could help us get around the CO2 emission cap regulations worldwide.

Paul Weimer, a research microbiologist for the U.S. Agriculture Department, opined that the findings are quite startling but would require more research for its potential applications. He is quoted to have said: “Right now, unless people take a look at what he’s done and start working on it, I’m not sure it’s going to be applied,” Weimer said.  “If they do, it holds tremendous promise.”
Kohn acknowledged that most of his findings were theoretical in nature and needed further research to develop industrial uses. “It’s very useful, People are very slowly becoming interested in it and it makes a very complicated system much more simple.” Said Kohn.

Kohn said he would apply for funding from the US Energy Department to continue his research.

Source: University of Maryland Energy Research Center

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