Scientist wants to create fuel-producing microbes

Steven Chu sees an America free from foreign oil, powered by home-grown genetically engineered and eco-friendly fuel. The Nobel laureate gets his inspiration from the guts of termites. The processes that allow insects to turn the hard fabric of plant material — cellulose — into an ethanol-like fuel is the key to cheap, clean-burning and virtually limitless fuel.


Chu dreams of creating a new class of microorganisms, microbes that would be genetically engineered to produce far more fuel, or ethanol, than they need to survive. They would be tailor-made versions of the microbes that convert cellulose to fuel for termites.

Chu has challenged the lab he now heads, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, to attack the problem on a multi-disciplinary basis.

Via ABC News.