In the Lab: Yeast Power, Nice Nanotubes, Fusion Fancy


Yeasty Ethanol: “Yeast” would’ve been a better choice for our A to Z list of the Biofuel Economy, instead of, um, “Your chopsticks.” Anyhoo. University of California Irvine researchers have teamed up with Laguna Hills, Calif.-based start-up CODA Genomics to explore ways to turn a common strain of yeast, used in producing beer, wine and bread, into an ethanol producer. That’s with the help of a little genetic tweaking, of course. (release)

Nano Materials: Carbon nanotubes — nano-scale materials that conduct electricity like copper or silicon — are stronger than steel, and pliable like plastic. They can also show promise in the fields of clean energy production and storage, though the nascent technology has plenty of challenges to overcome before it makes any sort of significant impact. Junhong Chen, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and his team of researchers claim to have devised a method for creating more predictable nanotubes –

Nuclear Fusion: A team of British-led scientists are hoping to solve the world’s energy crisis by unlocking the key to . . . yep, the old nuclear fusion dream. These scientists think they can deliver the technology and have it commercially viable within two decades, and this week won European Union approval, and funds, to attempt to turn their dream into reality – The Times

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