Environmental Products of Biotechnology Project by: Alex Burd and Jacai McClendon Methane Gas as Energy Source According to dictionary.com, methane is defined as a colorless, odorless, flammable gas, CH4 , the main constituent of marsh gas and the firedamp of coal mines, obtained commercially from natural gas. To create methane, you have to obtain it from underground coal mines. They are 20 times better at producing methane than carbon dioxide (CO2). In coal mines, organic matter decays. This produces methane when it is burned in a gas turbine. When burned, it creates methane. From there, it is pumped into homes in many forms including as electricity. Then, methane is used to power electrical items including TVs, computers and even heaters and air conditioners. The purpose of this product is to find a more eco-friendly alternative to help save the nonrenewable oil in the Earth. Methane was found in Lake Maggiore on the Italy/Swiss border by Alessandro Volta between 1776 and 1778. Pros and Cons: Methane Gas as Energy Source + Pros • Reduces fuel usage. • Reduces air pollution, in both local and national areas. • Reduces carbon dioxide pollution • More environmentally friendly. - Cons • Can be harmful if not handled correctly. • Can turn into a greenhouse gas. Plastic Products Made From Corn Before recently, plastic materials have been made using oil or petroleum. Now, scientists and biologists can make these same materials, but use USA corn to do so. To biodegrade, the corn products take about 30 to 45 days compared to years if more of normal plastic products. After they biodegrade, they become natural compounds. The purpose of these products is to become more conscious of the environment and its needs by reducing the amount of natural resources used. These products are being researched in Canada, England and the USA. Pros and Cons: Plastic Products Made From Corn + Pros • Make less global warming. • Less excess waste • Produces less pollution. - Cons • Cannot be mixed with other real plastic when recycled; it has to be dealt with separately. Biodegradable Products Biodegradable products are made and function exactly like normal plastic products, but break-down quickly and compost completely leaving no remains. These are as strong and durable as the conventional plastic items. They are made from renewable cellulose wood, sugar cane, corn and grass fibers. Biodegradable products are petroleum free, impermeable and non-toxic. The purpose of these products are to shrink the size of landfills and pollution by using renewable resources. They are currently made in Taiwan, China and the USA. Pros and Cons: Biodegradable Products + Pros • Decreases the amount of trash. • Help reach Green Paper Products‘® goal of a “no-trash future”. • The products are rich in minerals. • Reduces the demand for chemical fertilizers. - Cons • May cost more than traditional plastic products. Enviro-Pig The Enviro-Pigs is a genetically altered group of Yorkshire pigs that can digest Phosphorus better than normal Yorkshire pigs. They make a specific type of enzyme called phytate in the salivary glands. When the pig chews, the phytate mixes with the feed and the enzyme degrades the indigestible phytate. The purpose of the Enviro-Pigs is to produce less Phosphorus in the pig manure. The purpose of the pigs are to reduce the amount of Phosphorus pollution in the atmosphere. The EnviroPigs were first developed at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Pros and Cons: Enviro-Pig + Pros • Reduces the food cost for the pigs. • Reduces Phosphorus pollution. - Cons • If it gets into a water source, it will start algae growth that can kill many fish species. Biodiesel (Bio-fuel) Biodiesel is a bio-fuel that, in the long run, comes from the sun. It is made of vegetables and has no petroleum, but it can be mixed with any amount of it to become a biodiesel mixture. It is made during a process called transesterification where glycerin is separated from fat or vegetable oil. Biodiesel is a completely renewable energy source that can come from soybeans, canola and mustard seeds. It has equal or even better engine performance than traditional diesel fuel. Also, they do not require special storage. Biodiesels are being made in the United States, China, France and the Middle East. Pros and Cons: Biodiesel (Bio-fuel) + Pros • Less toxic than table salt. • Breaks down as fast as sugar. • Decreases dangerous emissions by 80%. - Cons • Can reduce the amount of food to eat. • Increase in nitrogen oxide in biodiesel emissions. Bibliography Corn Products • http://www.biodegradablestore.com/ • http://www.ecoproductsstore.com/compostable_plastic_pla_cupsbeer_cups_corn_plastic_cups_printed_cups.html • http://www.bagwellpromotions.com/cornplastic/ • http://www.greenworld365.com/what-are-corn-starch-biocompostables-aka-plaplastics/ • http://www.green-living.com/corn-infant-bowl-and-spoon.aspx • http://www.pacificcorn.com/ Biodegradable Products • http://www.bpiworld.org/ • http://greenpaperproducts.com/biodegradable-products.aspx • http://www.biodegradablestore.com/ • http://www.infobarrel.com/Biodegradable_Products_Institute_-_Why_It's_Important • http://www.cater4you.co.uk/blog/uploaded_images/bio-straws-796431.jpg Methane Gas • http://www.kub.org/wps/portal/!ut/p/c0/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gPC1O nYE8TIwN3d0cjA6MQc5-QINdAIwMDc_2CbEdFAJ952_o!/ • http://www.physorg.com/news96988141.html • http://www.bionomicfuel.com/methane-gas-can-be-harmful-if-not-contained-or-burned/ • http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energy.cfm?page=natural_gas_home-basics Bibliography Cont’d Enviro-Pig • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enviropig • http://www.uoguelph.ca/enviropig/ • http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/03/100330-bacon-pigsenviropig-dead-zones/ Biodiesel (Bio-fuel) • • • • • • http://www.propelfuels.com/content/about_biodiesel/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiesel http://www.biodiesel.org/ http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/biodiesel.shtml http://energysources4thefuture.yolasite.com/biodiesel.php http://www.sriconsulting.com/CEH/Public/Reports/205.0000/ Globe Picture • http://www.ccpo.odu.edu/Facstaff/faculty/tezer/ezer.html Questions 1. What produces methane? 2. What were traditional plastic products made from? 3. What is the purpose of biodegradable products? 4. What species of pigs are the EnviroPigs? 5. What is one negative impact from biodiesel?