Inspirational appetizers on unusual startups, emerging trends and bleeding-edge research

Rational reaction

Technology

There are ‘sweet solutions’ for rare earths. Bacteria, meanwhile, can be used to break down metals.

Now, a research team at Northwestern University is investigating how the tiny organisms can help rationalise chemical processes in an environmentally-friendly way.

The team reprogrammed an anaerobic bacteria so that it could convert CO2 into two widely-used chemicals.

Acetone is mainly used in the manufacture of plexiglass or solvents; alcohol (isopropanol) for disinfection and germ removal.

Normally both compounds are extracted using fossil fuels. According to the team’s study, the new fermentation process could reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the industry by 160%.

Bacteria can also be helpful in other ways. Take leather– and wood substitutes.

Share the inspiration

More Chillipicks In This Category

Stay Connected

Get a head start with the weekly newsletter

Sign up for your weekly inspiration sent directly to your inbox each friday. Providing you with positive news on innovation. Get a fresh perspective, sparking ideas and preparing you for warm-hearted conversations.

Related Chillipicks