Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bug Juice

There are 1,000,000,000,000,000 (that's 1 quadrillion) termites on our planet (give or take a few), made up of about 2,500 different species. Living inside each of these termites are microbes. The termites, as we all know, eat wood. What you may not know is that the termites sustenance actually comes from the microbes turning the woody pulp into a syrupy vinegar substance.

During this complex, symbiotic process, the microbes release the hydrogen stored in the wood as a "waste product", and it's this release of hydrogen that scientists are studying. Professor Daniel Kammen, of the University of California, believes that if we can unlock the secrets of this hydrogen release, we may see a clean way of producing hydrogen. From a single sheet of printer paper, a termite can produce two litres of the valuable, non polluting gas.

Interesting stuff, but I'm a little concerned about where all this termite food will come from...

More Info...

  • Termite Power: Can Pests' Guts Create New Fuel?

  • Could termite guts hold the key to the world's energy problems?

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