【未来的汽车要靠粪便作燃料?】

【未来的汽车要靠粪便作燃料?】加利福尼亚大学洛杉矶分校的一群大学生正在研发一种利用人类和动物排泄物制成的生物燃料,希望以此取代有害的汽油、柴油。他们通过枯草芽孢杆菌分解蛋白质,将剩下的物质转化为酒精生物燃料和氨。美国每年会产生超过10亿吨的排泄物,如果该技术研发成功,不仅将提供类似汽油的燃料,还能解决一大环境问题。

Will your next car run on POOP? UCLA reveals 'high protein' fuel system that uses human waste
Working with agricultural waste, municipal waste and plant matter
Human waste biofuel is energy dense and burns more like real gasoline
Engineer bacteria so it doesn't grow on protein by takes a portion of it
Can look at scaling product after they improve the yield

The US produces over 1 billion tons of animal and human waste every year.  David Wernick, an undergrad from the University of California, and his collegause 'were struck by all the waste that is literally going to waste' and realized the material may have potential as a renewable fuel source

While experts are developing 'greener' alternative fuel sources, a group of undergrads are creating a more natural one.

The team is working towards producing a biofuel that uses human and animal excretion, with the hopes of replacing harmful gasoline, diesel and jet fuel that dominate the market.

By engineering Bacillus subtilis, researchers are able to break down proteins and transform the left over material into alcohol biofuels and ammonia.

 

The US produces over 1 billion tons of animal and human waste every year, which does nothing but sit in an aerobically compost giving off harmful emissions.

David Wernick, a PhD candidate who graduated from the University of California, and his colleagues 'were struck by all the waste that is literally going to waste' and realized the material may have potential as a renewable fuel source, reports the University of California.

'We're working with anything such as agricultural waste like manure, municipal waste like sewage, plant matter, cellulosic matter and even carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere,' said Wernick in a video discussing the research.

Wernick explained that the world is dominated by gasoline, diesel and jet fuel as the main transportation fuels.

In 2014, the US consumed 375 million gallons of gasoline every day for the entire year, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Gasoline isn't just a toxic and highly flammable liquid it also produces vapors that pollute our air.

 

Burning this liquid releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – the biggest culprit of climate change.

And diesel and jet fuel do their part in polluting the air with polyaromatic hydrocarbons and nitrous oxides.

 

'They're all mixtures of hydrocarbon compounds that are derived from crude oil,' said Wernick.

'They all come from nonrenewable sources of oil.'

'With biofuels, we're looking at any sort of liquid fuel that can replace those nonrenewable sources with a renewable material.'

The US does have a more environmentally friendly alternative, enthonal, which it has been producing since 2005, but Wernick doesn't feel this chemical 'is an ideal alternative fuel source'.

 

'It doesn't have the exact same burning properties as gasoline or any of the other liquid transportation fuels that we use,' explained Wernick.

'It is not quite as energy dense and it is corrosive to metal and to the fuel infrastructure we already have in place – all of the pipelines and pumping systems.'

He explained that transforming human excretion into a biofuel has 'more favourable properties'.

 

'We try to produce branch chain alcohols, that are a little larger, more energy dense and burn more like real gasoline', he said.

Also, this new fuel source would be compatible with the infrastructure of the vehicles on the road, there won't be a need to buy a new make and model just to be more eco-friendly.

Wernick and his team believe they can engineer Bacillus subtilis, a soil bacteria, to be more efficient at breaking down proteins in waste and other protein-rich material such as, wastewater algae and fermentation leftovers from ethanol, wine and beer.

'The vast majority of organisms out there don't consume protein to convert it into a product. They find protein in the environment and then use that to grow,' said Wernick.

 

'We try to engineer the metabolisms of bacteria so that instead of just growing on this protein they will now take a good portion of it and use it to produce products for us.'

While making both fuel and fertilizer from poop could clean up the environment in more ways than one, Wernick said that's just the start of what could be done with the bacterial process.

'What we're doing right now is trying to further study the metabolism of this organism, see how we can alter it, adjust it to get higher yields,' he said.

'Once we improve our yield to biofuels, then we can start looking at 'can we scale production of this up?'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3471680/Will-car-run-POOP-UCLA-reveals-high-protein-fuel-use-human-waste.html


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