HOW IS FUEL MADE FROM AGRICULTURAL SCRAPS? The researchers take genetically engineered E. coli bacteria, add agricultural waste, and create ethanol, a fuel that can be used as a substitute for gasoline to run cars and other machines. The bacteria have been altered to include genes that allow them to digest sugars and excrete ethanol as waste. The bacteria enable producers to use low value material such as sugar cane waste instead of starch from corn and other materials.
WHAT IS ETHANOL? Ethanol is known to chemists by its chemical formula C2H5OH, which stands for two atoms of carbon, five of hydrogen, and one hydroxyl group, made up of one atom each of oxygen and hydrogen. Most people are familiar with ethanol as the intoxicating agent present in alcoholic beverages; it is also used in lamps and as a fuel for internal combustion engines. It is colorless, flammable, and can be created or distilled in a large number of ways.
This report has been produced thanks to a generous grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.