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Home Researchers study bacteria’s use in solar energy

n the future, bacteria could harness solar energy to provide power for automobiles if an ASU project recently granted $5.2 million by the U.S. Department of Energy succeeds.

A program in the energy department chose only 37 of 3,500 initial applicants to receive grants.

ASU professor Willem Vermaas said he and about 25 other researchers, including some at Diversified Energy and North Carolina State University, are looking at how bacteria can use photosynthesis to create fatty acids that can be modified into biofuel for cars.

The researchers are working with cyanobacteria, a strain of bacteria that uses photosynthesis to produce energy, he said.

“The idea is, in the photosynthesis process, you take solar energy and carbon dioxide, and in normal conditions you make sugars out of it,” Vermaas said.

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