Scientists from Tulane University claim that cars could run on old newspapers. They have discovered a novel bacterial strain, dubbed “TU-103,” that can use paper to produce butanol, a biofuel that can serve as a substitute for gasoline. It converts cellulose – such as that found in newspapers – into butanol, which can be substituted for gasoline.
“Cellulose is found in all green plants, and is the most abundant organic material on earth, and converting it into butanol is the dream of many,” said Harshad Velankar, a postdoctoral fellow in David Mullin’s lab in Tulane’s Department of Cell and Molecular Biology. “In the United States alone, at least 323 million tons of cellulosic materials that could be used to produce butanol are thrown out each year.”
TU-103 was first discovered in animal feces, and have since cultivated it, and developed a patent-pending process that allows it to produce butanol from cellulose.
“Most important about this discovery is TU-103’s ability to produce butanol directly from cellulose,” explained Mullin.
“This discovery could reduce the cost to produce bio-butanol,” said Mullin. “In addition to possible savings on the price per gallon, as a fuel, bio-butanol produced from cellulose would dramatically reduce carbon dioxide and smog emissions in comparison to gasoline, and have a positive impact on landfill waste.”