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Scientists find bugs that eat waste and excrete petrol
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of London Times

London Times, June 14, 2008
Posted: June 18th, 2008

Ten years ago I could never have imagined Id be doing this, says Greg Pal, 33, a former software executive. I mean, this is essentially agriculture, right? But ... this is the one hot area everyone wants to get into. He means bugs. To be more precise: the genetic alteration of bugs very, very small ones so that when they feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw, they do something extraordinary. They excrete crude oil. Unbelievably, this is not science fiction. Mr Pal holds up a small beaker of bug excretion that could, theoretically, be poured into the tank of the giant Lexus SUV next to us. Not that Mr Pal is willing to risk it just yet. He gives it a month before the first vehicle is filled up on what he calls renewable petroleum. After that, he grins, its a brave new world. Mr Pal is a senior director of LS9, one of several companies in or near Silicon Valley that have ... embarked ... on an extraordinary race to make $140-a-barrel oil (70) from Saudi Arabia obsolete. All of us here everyone in this company and in this industry, are aware of the urgency, Mr Pal says. What is most remarkable about what they are doing is that instead of trying to reengineer the global economy as is required, for example, for the use of hydrogen fuel they are trying to make a product that is interchangeable with oil. The company claims that this Oil 2.0 will not only be renewable but also carbon negative meaning that the carbon it emits will be less than that sucked from the atmosphere by the raw materials from which it is made.

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