Oil 2.0


I was excited to learn that scientists in California have produced bacteria that feed on agricultural waste and subsequently excrete oil.  Unlike conventional oil, this oil, called “Oil 2.0”, is carbon negative.  That means it puts less carbon into the air when it is used than the carbon used up to produce the oil in the first place.  http://www.ls9.com/_  Within the month, the scientists expect to test this renewable petroleum on a real car.  By 2010, they plan to have a demonstration plant running, and a commercial plant operational within a year after that.

A scientist in Japan is alworking with an algae that excretes oil.  With the government support he is receiving, he thinks he can create algae-filled fields producing enough oil to meet Japan’s current oil needs within five years, and a couple of years after that, he believes Japan could become an oil-exporting country.  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article4133633.ece.

This is mind-boggling.  The potential for this kind of renewable petroleum to change the world in a positive direction is almost immeasurable.  If mankind has figured out how to produce oil without pollution and at an affordable price, the geopolitical landscape throughout the world will change dramatically.  Food shortages resulting from creating fuel from bio-mass will disappear, pollution will be drastically reduced, along with greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

And all of this in less than a decade. It is so astonishing as to be almost unbelievable.

Well, perhaps it is unbelievable. At least it’s not a sure thing. There are some rather significant problems to be worked out before either plan becomes commercially viable. But that’s what they used to say about putting a man on the moon. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article4133668.ece


About Terry Sissons

Terry Sissons is the author of The Big Bang to Now: All of Time in Six Chunks, and this blog is a dialogue about the universe and what’s happened in the last 13 billions years.
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