E. coli is an exceedingly common bacteria that lives in many places including your very own gut. It's also a favorite organism for synthetic biologists looking to engineer useful microbes. By inserting just a few genes in E. coli, scientists have found they can coax the bacterium into making ready-to-use propane.
You might not realize it, but quitting our addiction to oil means more than just finding something besides gasoline to put in our cars. If we really want to stop using fossil fuels, we have to change the way we make roads—and cooking oil might just be the answer.
Be excited, Earthlings, because science has a surprise for you. Engineers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have devised a way to turn algae into crude oil in less than an hour. That oil can then be refined into gasoline that can run engines.
The major oil fields in the Gulf region have pumped more than half their oil, which is the point at which production usually begins to decline, one expert tells the Wall Street Journal.
We usually think of fossil fuels as an energy source, but petroleum is also the raw materials used in all the world's plastics. Now leftover chicken feathers could allow us to keep using plastics in a world after oil.
Earlier this week, IBM researchers announced a discovery that could lead to plastics made from plants instead of petroleum. The new plastics will be more energy efficient, more versatile, and infinitely recyclable (until we move to our space colony).
The July 19, 1909 Titusville Herald (Titusville, PA) ran an article containing predictions by the United States Geological Survey of a coming energy crisis. The report predicted that all petroleum and iron would be exhausted by 1939, all natural gas by 1934 and all coal by the middle of the 21st century.