With a little help from genetic engineering, researchers at one Massachusetts company say they've created an organism that takes sunlight, water and carbon dioxide and creates liquid fuel.
Bill Sims, CEO of Cambridge-based Joule Unlimited, says the process utilizes bacteria, produces a chemical product and secretes it. The result? A fuel that can fill demands for diesel and ethanol.
The product can be used in trucks, heavy equipment and further refined into jet fuel. Simply put, the organism created secretes the fuel in a direct process, working faster than current biofuel technology that often uses algae.
Officials with the Energy Information Administration report that diesel consumption in the United States has steadily risen in recent years. In 2005, 9.4 million barrels were used. In 2009, 1.04 billion barrels were consumed. In 2010, diesel supplied 5.9% of the U.S. energy needs.
Joule is taking the first big step toward commercialization, leasing more than 1,000 acres of land in New Mexico. They hope to prove the organism can produce fuel quickly, on a large scale, nearly anywhere.
Sims believes the technology can revolutionize part of the fuel industry, meeting transportation needs virtually anywhere around the world.
Read more here.