Can Microbes Make Hydrogen?
In the search for more efficient energy resources, an old enemy has become a potential new friend. For millions of years, microbes buried underneath layers of river sediment have been feasting off of the rich hydrocarbons present in oil. As a result, a large supply of petroleum was contaminated by these microbes. But now researchers have discovered that the microbes actually converted the petroleum into methane, a cleaner fossil fuel.
Scientists believe that the microbes can now be used to convert unrecoverable, heavy petroleum into methane in order to create an enormous supply of cleaner energy for electricity. Though methane is not completely free from carbon emissions, it could be a significant step towards a cleaner energy source.
Researchers are hopeful that this discovery might lead to the direct production of hydrogen, which seems to have the fewest drawbacks environmentally. The idea is that producing hydrogen from the reservoirs would yield a zero carbon emission energy source that could be derived from a fossil fuel.
These smallest of creatures might do the planet one of its largest favors in the future.Tweet