Milking diatoms for sustainable energy: Biochemical engineering versus gasoline-secreting diatom solar panels

  • Ramachandra T
  • Mahapatra D
  • Karthick B
 et al. 
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In the face of increasing CO2 emissions from conventional energy (gasoline), and the anticipated scarcity of Crude oil, a worldwide effort is underway for cost-effective renewable alternative energy sources. Here, we review a simple line of reasoning: (a) geologists claim that Much crude oil comes from diatoms; (b) diatoms do indeed make oil; (c) agriculturists Claim that diatoms could make 10-200 times as much oil per hectare as oil seeds; and (d) therefore, sustainable energy could be made from diatoms. In this communication, we propose ways of harvesting oil from diatoms, using biochemical engineering and also a new solar panel approach that utilizes genomically modifiable aspects of diatom biology, offering the prospect of "milking" diatoms for Sustainable energy by altering them to actively secrete oil products. Secretion by and milking of diatoms may provide a way around the puzzle of how to make algae that both grow quickly and have a very high oil content.

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  • T. V. Ramachandra

  • Durga Madhab Mahapatra

  • B. Karthick

  • Richard Gordon

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