Research conducted at Imperial College London developed a new method to generate chemicals from atmospheric carbon dioxide. The researchers imitated the action of natural organisms in producing toxic chemical without harming themselves. Meanwhile, the new method could pave way for greener production of fuels and chemicals. Current methods for production of chemicals, plastics, and fibres involve the use of fossil fuels. However, increased usage of fossils could contribute towards rising level of air pollution and environmental toxicity. The new technique developed at Imperial College reduces the use of fossil fuels in chemical production. The findings of the research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.
Problems in Using Fossil Fuels for Chemical and Fiber Production
Mining of fossil fuels in a labor-intensive and cost-heavy activity. This puts pressure on miners and oil companies to meet the required speed of production. Furthermore, the limited supply of certain kinds of fossil fuels makes it difficult to put them to optimal use. Meanwhile, excessive extraction of fossil fuels is the reason for disturbed carbon cycle of the planet. The researchers looked for solutions to these problems in engineering microorganisms. Cyanobacteria, and other microorganisms, could help in sustainable production of chemicals from atmospheric carbon dioxide. Moreover, these bacteria can be programmed in a way that they do not hamper growth.
Mitigating Climate Change
The new method has tremendous relevance in mitigating climate change as it could alleviate environmental pollution. Th proof of concept for the study has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers believe that advancements in biotechnology shall fortify further research in this domain. The next decade would be crucial in ascertaining the adoption rate of this new technique.