Biobatteries and bioengineered petroleum manufacturing.

In the twenty-first century you'd be hard pressed to find a piece of every day kit that doesn't have a power cell of some kind running it. Cellphones, tablets, laptops, MP3 players... they all need to be plugged in periodically to recharge. Under optimal conditions they can go two or three days in between top-offs but sometimes that isn't practical. Additionally, rechargable power cells have a finite lifetime and start to run dry faster and faster after two or three hundred recharges. This next bit of tech makes me wonder... a research team at Virginia Tech has figured out how …

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Bioengineered strain of e.coli produces fuel-worthy hydrocarbons

A bioengineering firm called LS9 has done something remarkable with the bacteria e.coli (the Swiss Army Knife of gengineering) - they successfully engineered a strain to produce arbitrary hydrocarbon compounds in addition to the usual fatty acids that life on this planet uses to store energy. Specifically, the bacterial strains almost produce the hydrocarbons that are normally pumped out of the ground in the form of crude oil and then fractionated ("cracked") into different substances. Mix the right hydrocarbons together and you get gasoline. Or diesel fuel. Or the raw materials needed to make plastics.

I say 'almost' because the …

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