Pardon me, but did you just pass renewable gas?

This just in! A band of scientists have officially produced renewable propane by engineering human-gut bacteria to be even more gassy! Cue the comedy rimshot… Basically, they did a bunch of extremely brilliant science stuff to engineer E. coli to produce three enzymes that, with their powers combined, produce relatively clean-burning propane. Sustainably. As in forever, without running out.

All our energy woes will be gone! Though, this won’t solve other *cough* climate *cough* problems we’re experiencing right now. While propane isn’t as bad as coal or say… gasoline, it kind of is. According to the US Energy Information Administration, propane produces 139 lbs of CO2 per million Btu of energy produced. Gasoline, by comparison, produces a scant ~19 lbs more, weighing in at 157.2 lbs of CO2 per million Btu of energy produced.

Unless they can figure out a way to get the bacteria to scrub CO2 from the air while simultaneously producing propane, this advent probably won’t save the world. Also, to be commercially viable they’d need to increase the current output by about 1,000 times according to Those two minor hurdles aside, the scientists say they’re 5-10 years from obtaining a commercially viable production rate.


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Beautiful art through Biology for the Popular Culture.

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