Here at ATS, we’re pretty familiar with propane, it’s an alternative to oil as fuel source and we’re often called in as homeowners or businesses are looking to make the switch between the two. However, if you’re not familiar with it, propane is generally found in gas form and as used as a source of energy to heat buildings or power stoves, and like many forms of fuel is a finite resource. That may be changing in the future as researchers at The University of Manchester’s Institute of Biotechnology (MIB) believe that they have found a way to create a renewable source of propane.
If you haven’t been following us, developing technologies is a subject that is near and dear to ATS considering that we test for and remove outdated storage tanks and even developed our own tank testing equipment. Scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs are constantly creating new technologies that make our daily lives easier, streamline difficult processes, improve the environment, and generally bring us closer as a global community. Every Thursday, ATS brings you a new “tech” that we think is worth learning about!
In this new technology, scientists have found a method to create a synthetic pathway for the biosynthesis of propane. Since there is no natural pathway that can be adapted for propane, the proposed method combines a microbial biosynthetic pathway as a substitute. The researchers engineered an enzyme to adapt a butanol pathway to create the propane. Currently, the team is just exploring the possibility of a sustainable source of this current fossil fuel.
Since propane is easily transported in liquid form and is a fairly clean burning source of energy, a renewable source of propane could be considered a definite addition to fossil fuels. The research being completed by MIB may one day serve as a commercial technology that can provide renewable propane.