DIY Friday: Biofuels

I’m feeling rather confident in my DIY skills at the moment. I just fixed up my bike last night, put up a new shelving unit, and re-wired a lamp. So, I’m thinking I might take on something a bit more challenging. How about solving the world energy crisis by breeding bacteria that eat CO2 and produce fuel? No big deal — I’ve got all weekend.

Hey, Craig Venter is working on it, and all he’s done is decode the human genome. is also getting into the bacteria market.

No one would accuse Craig Venter of harboring humble ambitions. In 2000 he decoded the human genome faster than anyone else—and he did it more cheaply than a well-funded government team. More recently he’s set a new goal for himself: to replace the petrochemical industry. In a Maryland lab, he’s manipulating chromosomes in the hopes of creating an energy bug—a bacterium that will ingest CO2, sunlight and water, and spew out liquid fuel that can be pumped into American SUVs.

But if cooking up bacteria in your basement makes you a bit squeamish, you can always go the homemade ethanol route. These guys are developing a DIY kit for just $10,000.

Or you can just follow these step-by-step instructions to get up and running.

You can even get a tax credit for it, as long as your particular brand of fuel qualifies.