It’s Alive! How Living Organisms are Helping Create a Renewable Energy Future

The energies we mostly rely on today were made possible by the death and fossilization of ancient organisms. Unfortunately, our continued reliance on those fossil energies will most certainly cause the future death of many others. So how are we going to change our habits and develop more renewable energy? Well, one way is to use living organisms such as plants, animals, bacteria and fungi to develop next-generation fuels and electricity. In this program, we’ll talk with some researchers who are on the cutting-edge of this field.

Firstly, Bruce Rittman, director of the Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the University of Arizona, will tell us about microbial fuel cells that use cultures of bacteria to break down wet biomass waste to create electricity.

Then, we’ll talk with Bill Baum, general manager of the Specialty Enzymes Business Unit of Verenium and Steve Hutcheson, President and CEO of Zymetis about the best places in nature to find enzymes for breaking down cellulose for ethanol production.

Finally, Brian Willson, chief technology officer for Solix Biofuels, describes how to grow algae for fuel. He’ll talk about the differences between open and closed production systems, how Solix’s biophotoreactor works, and when we can expect to see biofuels from algae on the market.

Inside Renewable Energy offers the latest in renewable energy news and information.

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I am a reporter with, a blog published by the Center for American Progress. I am former editor and producer for, where I contributed stories and hosted the Inside Renewable Energy Podcast. Keep in touch through twitter! My profile name is: Stphn_Lacey

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