What is it about?

Exhaust and fumes from vehicles have often been associated with increasing climate change. These fumes contain greenhouse gases (GHGs) like carbon dioxide (CO₂), which result in global warming. How can we solve this problem? One possible answer lies in the use of CO₂ neutral or negative fuels. These can be: • Obtained from renewable or sustainable resources, and • Release fewer GHGs. The first generation of these biofuels is not very efficient, but the second generation has better properties. A 2020 paper explains a way to produce these biofuels. Oddly enough, the answer to our climate crisis lies in nature itself! Much like cars need fuel to run, living beings need energy for their biological processes. But certain bacteria can produce alcohol without using much energy. These compounds could serve as biofuel. Could their metabolic pathways be remodeled to produce biofuel, then? Inspired by this possibility, authors studied these bacteria. Indeed, they did find a way to produce biofuels-- a hybrid pathway which could covert glucose into isopentanol. What is isopentanol? It is a newer, energy efficient biofuel that releases less CO₂.

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Why is it important?

Isopentanol has a lower environmental impact than existing fossil fuels. By optimizing the process, isopentanol can be produced more easily, making it an extremely economic and valuable resource. This process is described in the paper. KEY TAKEAWAY: This paper targets a critical area of climate research—the sustainable production of fuel. Isopentanol, is efficient, can be produced sustainably, and has a low environmental impact. Its production is scalable and economic. All these attributes make it a very valuable energy resource in a world that is battling a climate crisis.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Adenosine Triphosphate and Carbon Efficient Route to Second Generation Biofuel Isopentanol, ACS Synthetic Biology, March 2020, American Chemical Society (ACS), DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.9b00402.
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