In Australia motorists have recently had to fac up to the reality of petrol shortages -- caused by both the energy crisis and industrial disputes.
CU: Apples fermenting in Laboratory PULL OUT TO technicians at work.
CU: elements being heated over bunsen burner before being placed in Culture dish. (2 shots)
MV: Technician at work.
CU: Culture dish.
CU: Liquid bubbling in flask surrounded by intricate chemical apparatus.
CU: Dr Peter Rogers speaking to reporter in English.
CU: Laboratory equipment being used for experiment. (2 shots)
CU: Dr. Rogers continuing explanation of possible applications.
TRANSCRIPT: COOKSON: "To most people rotting apples like these are suitable only as garbage. But for two years a team of researchers in the School of Biological Technology at the University of New South Wales have been using apples to test the bacterium Zymomonas mobilis- a naturally occurring fermenter of sugar. The race to find fuel alternatives and supplements is the key to their research. Their aim has been to produce ethanol - the alcohol derived from fermentation of sugar more efficiently than with the traditional ingredient, yeast. Ethanol is already a recognised petrol additive, but producing it with yeasts is relatively slow and inefficient. The answer, the researchers now believe is Zymomonas mobilis. After isolation and growth in the micro-biological lab, the pure culture is transferred to a fermenter, where, kept at a constant temperature, it's mixed with a sugar solution."
COOKSON: "Well, Dr. Rogers just how significant is this discovery that you've made?"
ROGERS: "We feel it has considerable commercial significance. Any process in which the organisms produce alcohol faster and more efficiently must lead to a more cost effective process with smaller equipment and therefore less capital costs."
COOKSON:"Well, just how easy would it be for Australians to switch over to using ethanol in their petrol?"
ROGERS: "It seems to be fairly simple process. In the United States for example, and in Brazil, they're looking at mixtures of fifteen to twenty percent alcohol in their petrol, and very minor engine modifications are required. And one has fairly extensive programmes in the U.S. where this is happening at the moment."
COOKSON: "No pollution problems?"
ROGERS: "It reduces the pollution problem. Alcohol has a higher octane rating than petrol, and this means too that you can reduce the lead load of the petrol; so one in fact can minimise the addition of lead and minimise pollution.
Other alternative energy sources being investigated in Australia include Liquified Petroleum gas, Compressed Natural Gas, ethanol, oil form shale, oil from coal and battery powered cars. In Japan there has also been significant progress in the development of vehicles which could be partially powered by solar energy.
REPORTER: STEVE COOKSON
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Australia motorists have recently had to fac up to the reality of petrol shortages -- caused by both the energy crisis and industrial disputes. Rationing was introduced in New South Wales last month -- but from Sydney and are signs that the search for alternative fuels is being taken seriously. Scientists at the University if New South Wales have found a new, faster and ultimately cheaper method of producing the crop-based fuel ethanol. The Australian Broadcasting Commission's Science Reporter Steve Cookson takes up the story.