3D printers make a methane-eating plastic… that excretes fuel.

Science Daily has more on the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers who have 3D-printed a polymer that turns methane to methanol:

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have combined biology and 3-D printing to create the first reactor that can continuously produce methanol from methane at room temperature and pressure.

The team removed enzymes from methanotrophs, bacteria that eat methane, and mixed them with polymers that they printed or molded into innovative reactors.

Advances in oil and gas extraction techniques have made vast new stores of natural gas, composed primarily of methane, available. However, a large volume of methane is leaked, vented or flared during these operations, partly because the gas is difficult to store and transport compared to more-valuable liquid fuels. Methane emissions also contribute about one-third of current net global warming potential….

Current industrial technologies to convert methane to more valuable products, like steam reformation, operate at high temperature and pressure, require a large number of unit operations and yield a range of products.

The team found that the 3-D-printed polymer could be reused over many cycles and used in higher concentrations than possible with the conventional approach of the enzyme dispersed in solution.

So, bacteria to polymer to converting greenhouse gases to fuel.

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