Scientists find way to produce renewable energy from carbon dioxide

Scientists find way to produce renewable energy from carbon dioxide

April 4, 2013 0 By Erin Kilgore

Renewable Energy Research

Renewable energy as a byproduct of carbon dioxide consumption

Climate change continues to be a serious, if somewhat controversial, issue. Carbon dioxide being released into the planet’s atmosphere is linked to widespread climate change and efforts to mitigate the emissions of carbon dioxide have been gaining momentum over the past few years. Carbon capture has become a practice that has attracted a great deal of interest because it could potentially remove carbon dioxide emissions from the environment. If this carbon dioxide could be used as a form of renewable energy, the idea of carbon capture may be able to solve two problems at once.

Micro-organism may hold the key to effective carbon capture and renewable energy production

Scientists from the University of Georgia have developed a way to convert carbon dioxide in earth’s atmosphere into potentially useful industrial products. Researchers believe that these industrial products can be used to create biofuels or used as a way to generate renewable energy. This is accomplished through the use of a micro-organism called Pyrococcus furiosus that is capable of capturing carbon dioxide and turning it into something more useful. The process is similar to how plants make use of carbon dioxide.

Researchers modify genetics of organism to thrive on carbon dioxide

Researchers note that this micro-organism thrives in super-heated areas of the deep ocean. In these areas, the organism feeds on carbohydrates that are produced from deep-sea geothermal vents. Researchers have successfully altered the genetic material of these organisms to thrive off carbon dioxide instead of carbohydrates. In doing so, researchers believe that the organism can produce organic waste material that can be used to create fuels and other forms of renewable energy, while also lowering the carbon dioxide that exists in the world’s atmosphere.

Research funded by Department of Energy

It may be some time before the organism can be used on a large scale, but researchers have high hopes concerning its capabilities. This endeavor was funded by the Department of Energy as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to support renewable energy and mitigate the effects of climate change. With the help of Pyrococcus furiosus, climate change may eventually become a less serious concern.