Car fuel could be made from thin air

Scientists are working on a way to make fuel from thin air, which twists our noodles even more than last week's revelation that it's possible to power a car using human excrement

Scientists are working on a way to make fuel from thin air, which twists our noodles even more than last week's revelation that it's possible to power a car using human excrement .

It's all down to a microbe found at the roots of food plants, known as azotobacter vinelandii, Discovery News reports. This, it has been discovered by researchers at the University of California, creates an enzyme called vanadium nitrogenase, which in turn creates ammonia from nitrogen gas and, most interestingly, propane -- a fuel commonly used to power camping gas stoves.

With some magnificently scientific tweakage, the enzyme could be made to create not only the simple three-carbon-atom chain molecule of propane, but the longer, more complex chain that makes up petrol.

More amazingly, science types are also looking at the possibility of powering vehicles using their own exhaust fumes. When vanadium nitrogenase is given carbon monoxide instead of the oxygen and nitrogen from which it made ammonia, it continued making similar short carbon chains two or three atoms long.

This gives rise to the theory that in the not too distant future, it could be possible to fuel cars with their own exhaust gases, or for cars to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, convert it to fuel, and pump it back out again for other cars to utilise.

Sadly, all of this is unlikely to happen overnight, as it's incredibly difficult to harvest vanadium nitrogenase in sufficient quantities to create the ammonia necessary to create fuel. Still, it's piqued our interest, and hopefully the interests of scientists the world over. Let's put on our lab coats and make this one happen, people.

 

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