Talk about an innovative renewable energy source...scientists at LS9 in California's Silicon Valley have discovered a way to genetically modify certain microbes so they consume agricultural waste (wheat straw or wood chips, for example), and, uh, excrete crude oil. You read that right...the little critters' doo-doo is 'black gold'. Texas tea. Honest.
While use of most alternative energy technologies would require a global restructuring away from petroleum-based economies, LS9 and several other small companies are pursuing an oil replacement that, unlike ethanol, does not require the use of food crops. Their research has been conducted with private funds, off the radar of government busy-bodies...though they will likely show up any day now and claim credit. Paging Nancy Pelosi....
Lest you think this is a pipeline dream, especially given the company's whimsical description of itself as "prerevenue", it is also worth noting that Bob Walsh, a former executive of Shell Oil, is on board as LS9's president.
The company plans to have a demonstration plant operational by 2010 and a commercial plant available by 2011. Petroleum. But renewable, cleaner, cost-competitive and domestic. Visit their site and watch the video. Fascinating stuff!