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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday August 23 2017, @09:41AM   Printer-friendly
from the a-bit-tart dept.

Scientists have added cadmium to bacteria, causing them to accumulate cadmium sulphide crystals on their surfaces:

Scientists have created bacteria covered in tiny semiconductors that generate a potential fuel source from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water. The so-called "cyborg" bugs produce acetic acid, a chemical that can then be turned into fuel and plastic. In lab experiments, the bacteria proved much more efficient at harvesting sunlight than plants. The work was presented at the American Chemical Society meeting in Washington.

[...] These newly boosted bacteria produce acetic acid, essentially vinegar, from CO2, water and light. They have an efficiency of around 80%, which is four times the level of commercial solar panels, and more than six times the level of chlorophyll.

Also at IEEE.


Original Submission

 
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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 23 2017, @10:37AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 23 2017, @10:37AM (#557912)

    From TFS: They have an efficiency of around 80%, which is four times the level of commercial solar panels, and more than six times the level of chlorophyll.

    No formal engineering analysis yet, but factors not mentioned in TFA seem to relegate this experiment to a fun proof of concept with little practical value at the moment.

    Comparing solar conversion efficiency is disingenuous hype, since PV cell output (electrical energy) can be directly and immediately utilized to perform useful work. Cyborg bug juice, acetic acid, must first be reprocessed into useful polymers, at a cost in energy and additional materials.

    This is to say nothing of the costs of acquiring and safely controlling the requisite amounts of cadmium for use at commercial scale. It is likely to be, to put it mildly, prohibitive.

    Additional demand for cadmium on top of the battery and tool&die industries will inevitably increase that cost.

    Only about 10% of industrial acetic acid production is biological, so all we're looking at at this point is, at best, cheaper synthetic vinegar.

    We've already been down the bio-fuels road to nowhere. No need to travel it again.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetic_acid [wikipedia.org]

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  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday August 24 2017, @01:23AM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday August 24 2017, @01:23AM (#558263)

    Unless you wanted to make acetic acid in the first place... then it's terribly efficient as compared to, say, fermenting apple juice.

    --
    Україна не входить до складу Росії.