A bacteria found in the gut of a rabbit can now help cars run in a more eco-friendly way.
The bacteria, identified by biotech start-up LanzaTech, helps turn factory carbon emissions, a.k.a. pollution, into ethanol, an alcohol that is blended with gasoline to reduce the amount of fuel used by cars.
Almost every gallon of gasoline sold in the United States today is 10 percent ethanol, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. But ethanol still has environmental implications. For example, there's the food versus fuel debate. Ethanol is typically made from corn, sugar cane or grasses, which take a lot of land to grow, acreage that some argue is needed to grow food.
“The world uses 50 million barrels per day of fossil fuels (that’s for cars, planes, boats). If we want to try to substitute a significant portion of that using sugars ... we would end up using all our landmass to make fuels versus growing crops to feed people,” Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech tells CNBC Make It.
"While there are many sustainable sources of sugar-derived ethanol ... it’s not enough to substitute for all the fuel we use today," says Holmgren. "Enter gas fermentation."
Holmgren is referring to the revolutionary, and according to LanzaTech, greener, process of producing ethanol developed by the start-up. The Chicago-based company discovered a way to make ethanol from the carbon waste emissions secreted by factories — the exhaust you can see billowing out of their smoke stacks.