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Garden bug set to transform biofuels production

Garden bug set to transform biofuels production

A genetically altered garden bacterium which is infamously unfussy with what it eats is set to make substantial changes to world biofuels production, according to a report in the Guardian.

The bacteria, named TM242 (or Geobacillus in the wild) will firstly be used to make corn bioethanol production in the US more efficient, before being implemented to produce biofuels from tougher waste materials.

The major difference between the bug and the yeasts usually used in bioethanol production is that it has the potential to convert harsher "second generation" matter into fuel, including forest waste, wheat stalks and even cardboard.

Hamis Curran, chief executive of the TMO Renewables, which has developed the process, told the Guardian: "I see the opportunity in the UK to leapfrog the first generation (such as corn biofuels) and go directly to the second generation, making ethanol from biomass."

According to Mr Curran, using TM242 will produce 15 per cent more ethanol in biofuel plants, as well as reducing fossil fuel consumption by up to 50 per cent.

The bacteria could possibly provide an answer to the argument that biofuels development removes too much land from food production, leading to global increases in food prices.


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