Clean Fuels By Bacteria?

e_coli.jpg
Used with permission by the University of California

The Use of Microbes to Produce Cleaner Fuels

By Eric Velasquez
Organic Chemistry Fall 2010
University of New Hampshire at Manchester
Email: eevschool@gmail.com

Introduction

In the year 2009 alone, the United States consumed about 137.93 billion gallons (or 3.28 billion barrels) of gasoline (1). In the last forty-one minutes, the world has used up over 100 million gallons of petroleum, the precious nonrenewable fossil fuel. The United States contains over 200,00 miles of pipeline, 170,000 fueling stations, and over 243 million registered vehicles, all primed for the use of petroleum-based fossil fuels (2). The problem is, how can we continue to meet these outrageous demands for petroleum, and keep the process "greener" as well?

The History of Petroleum

The petroleum used today in our fuels was created over a long
period of time and is not something that we can create in a
short time, which is why it is a "nonrenewable" resource. The United
Crude_Oil.jpg
Image used with permission by Energy Book Info

States does not produce nearly enough oil to meet our own
needs, and we end up importing more than half the oil we use
from other countries. Going along with the problem of availability,
petroleum-based fuels also contain benzene, sulfur and heavy metals
that are harmful to both humans and the environment.

LS9's Answer

LS9, Inc. has developed a new process in which industrial microbes act like refineries, creating a specific chemical product, in this case being UltraCleanTM diesel fuel. Since this fuel is produced from strictly biomass, it eliminates the benzene, sulfur and other heavy metals found in the petroleum-based diesel fuel (3).

Facility and Benefits

Since LS9 was able to acquire a facility instead of building a new one from scratch, the company saved a lot of time and money and were able to invest more into the making of their products (2). One of the benefits of acquiring such a facility was the aspect that it contained a number of the required components for demonstration scale production, such as:
  • Fermentors
  • Storage Tanks
  • Operations and maintenance equipment
  • Fabrication capabilities
  • Cellulosic biomass processing capabilities


storage.jpg
Storage Facility Image used with permission by LS9 Inc
boilers.jpg
Boiler image used with permission by LS9 Inc


rpf_cooling.jpg
Cooling Tower used with permission by LS9 Inc
rpf_water.jpg
Water Treatment image used with permission by LS9 Inc



Sources

1."Frequently Asked Questions-gasoline." U.S. Energy Information Administration. Department of Energy, 17/08/2010. Web. 6 Dec 2010. <http://www.eia.doe.gov/ask/gasoline_faqs.asp>.
2. "LS9, Inc. Home." LS9, Inc.. LS9, Inc., 2007. Web. 6 Dec 2010. <http://www.ls9.com/index.html>.
3. "2010 Small Business Award." United States Environmental Protection Agency. Environmental Protection Agency, 06/21/2010. Web. 6 Dec 2010. <http://www.epa.gov/greenchemistry/pubs/pgcc/winners/sba10.html>.
4. "Petroleum and Coal." Purdue University. Purdue University, 07/11/2010. Web. 6 Dec 2010. <http://chemed.chem.purdue.edu/genchem/topicreview/bp/1organic/coal.html>.
5. "The Origin and Chemistry of Petroleum." DPRA. DPRA, 2006. Web. 6 Dec 2010. <http://www.dpra.com/index.cfm/m/158>.