Hello everyone, my name is Ryan and I live in Oakland, California in the United States.
I am very interested in ways to reduce carbon emissions and increase sustainability in cities and towns, especially by means of finding renewable energy sources. If I were a city planner focused on sustainability, I would devote my attention towards clean transportation fuels and green generation of electricity. I believe these are the main sources of the high greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere. Additionally, if we could find better methods to create electricity without burning fossil fuels and to travel to places without gasoline or aviation fuel, we would be heading the right direction towards a sustainable and clean future. However, if we continue to consume these materials, we will not only deplete Earth’s resources, but also pollute the planet tremendously. Thus, it is better to find alternatives now before we are desperately scraping the Earth for resources or struggling to clean the air.
Recently, I have had a growing interest in biofuels, and I happened upon this article regarding the production of biofuel by feeding sugar to E. coli bacteria. At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), some chemical engineers figured out how to modify glycolysis, a process some organisms undergo to convert sugar into molecules the cells need. The researchers’ method of creating this biofuel emits no carbon dioxide, which is less than the two carbon dioxide molecules current biorefineries emit every time glycolysis occurs. When considering the millions of cells emitting two carbon dioxide molecules, it becomes obvious how much cleaner and more economical this customized glycolysis procedure is. This production of biofuel is completely efficient because no carbon dioxide is lost, but is instead conserved and used in the process of converting organic material into fuel. This is a quintessential example of how we are striving towards a sustainable future by advancing existing fuel technologies rather than simply conserving resources (though that is also good). The efficiency improvements also show how much closer we are to getting to long-lasting, proficient energy sources. Though we may be a long ways away from everlasting energy, finding methods to increase efficiency in biofuels is a great start, and the fact that they are clean is great, too!
A city with this biofuel (or other efficient fuels) would be clean and sustainable. I would want to live in an area where the pollution is not hovering above me in a musky, suffocating cloud and where I am conscious that future generations can continue to enjoy the Earth that we have today. However, this article brings up an interesting question: clean fuels can only be so efficient to a certain extent. When that point is reached, what will we turn to? Solar panels? Or will we continue consuming, just at a slower rate?