Re: Earth could hold more water

Posted by
Amaranth Rose on Mar 14, 2002 at 14:27

Re: Earth could hold more water (Mike Kremer)

"Now if we could just cultivate vats of Methane and Water producing Microbes in our houses, we could face the future with confidence? Who said Microbes wer'nt friendly? Amaranth Rose where are you? "

I'm here, friend, always. All you have to do is call.

Who knows, perhaps someday the rallying cry in some far-off political campaign will be "A car in every garage, and a petroleum producing processor in every basement"! Sounds as good as a chicken in every pot. Besides, you have to move the chicken every time you wnat to move the pot.

I see a few poblems that would have to be overcome for this to work. If petroleum is actually produced by living microorganisms, living and working at great depths, they will be adapted to function at temperatures and pressures it would be difficult to reproduce. Bringing them up intact and functioning will probably be difficult; we've seen the problems just trying to study benthic organisms from the deep oceans, because they die when the pressure surrounding them decreases.

Assuming we could get hold of some of thie proposed life form and bring it to the surface intact, and manage to somehow cultivate some of it, I'd think our best bet would be to try and clone its DNA (assuming it uses DNA) and insert it into some bacterium we can grow readily at normal atmospheric pressures. If we succeeded, those bacteria could then be propagated in vats under an apppropriate atmosphere, much like penicillin, with the petroleum produced being drawn off and fresh substrate added from time to time. It would probably still have to be refined, though it may be possible to select for strains that produce different mixtures of hydrocarbons or achieve that using different mixtures of substrate. Imagine all those huge tanks sitting around making oil instead of storing it!

Of course, you always have the potential for "The Bug that Ate the Interstate". And the term "embargo" would perhaps become obsolete. Oil terrorism might become focused on finding ways to take out the opponent's oil producing reactors.

Who knows, we might all finally learn to stop worrying and love this place!

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