BP and Science Foundation Arizona are teaming up with researchers at The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University to develop biofuel feedstock from cyanobacteria.Â These tiny little prokaryotes are sometimes referred to as blue-green algae, though they were around long before algae.Â The OG of plantlife, if you will, they are thought to be the original species to change our atmosphere from a reducing one to an oxidizing one, creating this oxygen-rich planet that we know and love today.Â Cyanobacteria reproduce under the same principles as algae, through photosynthesis, eating up carbon dioxide.Â In fact, the synopsis of the technology development at ASU sounds familiar to the algae technologies that are being developed all over the place these days:
The renewable technology holds significant promise, with an estimated high biomass-to-fuel yield. Furthermore, because the bacteria are dependent upon carbon dioxide for growth, a more environmentally friendly and potentially carbon neutral energy source is feasible. The small footprint needed for bacterial biofuel production allows the technology to be placed adjacent to power generating stations and the utilization of flue gas as a carbon source.
Below is a closeup of cyanobacteria dyed with fluorescent markers to show fat content.