Although printed media is becoming a dying breed, it still very much dominates the world and has never found a viable solution for all these newspapers lying around in landfills. It seems now there is a new way to recycle paper – by using a bacteria to turn it into Biofuel. Scientists at Tulane University have found a new use for the morning news: converting it to biofuel!
The Tulane scientists have found that a newly discovered bacterial strain, which they are calling TU-103, can actually turn newspapers into butanol to power cars. The strain was first discovered in animal poop, where it turned organic matter into butanol using a patent pending method developed by the scientists. With the presence of oxygen, the bacterial strain munches on the organic cellulose material in the paper, and yields the biofuel. Thus far, TU-103 is the only strain that the scientists have found to do so. By converting organic cellulose material to bio-butanol, scientists predict we can curb our dependence on foreign oil.
In addition, bio-butanol not only burns cleanly, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but would also drastically reduce landfill waste. The study reports that over 323 million tons of material, which this bacterial strain could convert into fuel, fills our landfills each year! What’s more, biofuel can be used without having to adapt car engines as it burns similarly to traditional gasoline. It can also be transported easily, and gets great gas mileage. The bacterial strains have been successfully turning local New Orleans newspapers into butanol, recycling yesterday’s news into today’s fuels. Now we simply need a home device to do that, and it seems that after that, paper waste will become a valuable asset.