Could We Use Poop To Power Our Cars?

Could We Use Poop To Power Our Cars?

How do you turn poop into fuel? Scientists at the University of California are pursuing the answer by genetically engineering bacteria. They're working with Bacillus subtilis, a soil organism that typically eats the protein found in manure and other waste products. They've engineered the bacteria to produce alcohol biofuels after breaking down the protein in the poop, and are now focusing on upping the yields of those biofuels. If they're successful, they wouldn't only be making a huge stride in the field of renewable energy, they'd also be taking steps toward solving a huge problem: that of excess manure emitting harmful greenhouse gases.


from Fig. 1 by University of California

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Composting manure produces nitrous oxide and methane emissions, which are greenhouse gases that are 325 times more potent than carbon dioxide. (0:15)

  • 2

    Advanced biofuels have more favorable fuel properties than ethanol. (0:56)

  • 3

    Bacillus subtilis is a soil organism that can be engineered to produce alcohol biofuels. (1:49)

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