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Great News for Cellulosic Ethanol

Sometimes, a research result promises a lot for the future. This one, about cyanobacteria that produce glucose which can be continuously harvested from a saltwater-fed solution, made my day.

If it scales up (and it's a big if), give Prof. Brown his Nobel prize now. And hurray for the University of Texas.

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( 4 sutras — Your wisdom )
mikigarrison
Apr. 25th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)
I recognize those guys -- that's the program I did undergrad in. Too bad I discovered how much I hate lab work.

I'm relatively sure that Nobles was the one with the ideas and the work on this one -- and Brown the senior PI and mentor. Nobles is the first author on the journal article, which supports that. So if there's a Nobel prize someday, hopefully it will go to Nobles. :D

Edited at 2008-04-25 05:42 pm (UTC)
nellisir
Apr. 25th, 2008 07:26 pm (UTC)
Wow. Awesome stuff.
neutronjockey
Apr. 25th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
Big if is right. There's too many hands holding back alternative fuel source production (not research, but full-scale production).

After seeing gas prices at $3.59 (in Tulsa mind you) this morning , I'm all about getting rid of the ranch truck and getting a small 2-seater with a hybrid engine. No matter how uncool it may be.
opaoma
Apr. 26th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
noble thoughts
I very much wish the work would result in an industrial process that will get us off using coal, oil and natural gas. But I am sure that will be a long way coming. Brown needed ca. 30 years until his lab got that far. The link you gave is to a communication by some kind of public relations office of Texas U. The paper by Nobles and Brown itself (which is in press in the journal “Cellulose”) is more restrained. Presently they see a yield of 20% of what can be gotten from corn. On the other hand those latter figures are highly inflated by the agricultural lobby. According to some estimates the net gain from corn-ethanol is minimal because of all the energy which has to be expended to obtain the corn in the first place. But be it as it may this is a neat job by Nobles and Brown! May it have consequences for renewable energy and with luck also for the investigators (a Nobel for Nobles would be noble).
p.
( 4 sutras — Your wisdom )

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