It could potentially be one of the biggest energy breakthroughs in history – genetically manipulating bacteria to quickly convert anything that grows out of the Earth into oil. But the biggest names in the national media have thus far not provided any coverage of this possible solution to skyrocketing gas prices and America’s long-term energy security.
A WND story last month introduced to the nation a new technique where altered bacteria “rapidly digest” everything from grass clippings and wood chips, turning them into hydrocarbons for fuels such as gasoline and diesel. If done on a large scale, it could provide billions of barrels of renewable oil every year.
Naturally occurring bacteria used to convert biomass into hydrocarbons.
One reader, Joe Russo of Fairbanks, Alaska, called it “the biggest story we’ve seen in a decade, yet the cable and mainstream news networks haven’t even picked up on it.”
The apparent inattention comes as a big surprise to the agricultural researcher pioneering the process, J.C. Bell, the CEO of Bell Bio-Energy, Inc.
“We’ve been on several radio stations, but nothing really national,” he said. “We haven’t talked to anybody. Nobody’s called us – nobody from the Associated Press or CNN or Fox News Channel, which kind of surprised us. We thought it would generate something.”
Bell gave an overview of his plans today at the U.S. Defense Department’s Worldwide Energy Conference & Trade Show in Arlington, Va., where more than 750 Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine, Coast Guard and federal organizations were represented.
“He was very well-received there,” said Wesley Cox, owner of WCGA Radio, a news/talk station in St. Simons Island, Ga.
Cox complains, “The mainstream media has been ignoring systematically the facts about energy creation and use, and they’ve been doing it for years.”
He thinks believability could be a factor when it comes to the lack of national coverage.
“It’s a lot easier to not run a story than it is to run a story that’s not proven yet.”
Bell’s bacterial discovery has already been published in two Georgia newspapers – the Tifton Gazette and the Macon Telegraph – but neither report was picked up by the Associated Press, despite those papers being members of the news cooperative.
WND contacted the bureau chief at the AP’s Atlanta office, who said, “I can’t give you an answer as to why, because this is the first I’ve heard of it. We’ll look into it and see what’s going on.”
Reporter Jana Cone, who documented Bell’s claims for the Tifton paper, was also at a loss to explain why the AP neither picked up the story nor assigned its own writer.
“I have no explanation except people don’t think it’s possible,” Cone said. “All of our stuff is available to them, and they pick up stories as they wish. If what [Bell] says is a fact, it could be absolutely huge.”
Bell maintains with just 2 billion tons of biomass, his process can produce 5 billion barrels of oil each year naturally, with no negative impact on the environment.
“That’s 5 billion barrels of oil that can be produced from just trash,” he said.
Despite the national media’s silence, Bell is moving forward with plans to make his process a reality.
“It’s not even theory anymore,” he told WND. “Now we’re just engineering. We are within a very few days of announcing the location of our first pilot plant.”
The process of converting biomass into energy is not in dispute scientifically.
“Yes it can be done, but you have to do it economically,” said Dr. Art Robinson, a research professor of chemistry at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine who publishes the Access to Energy newsletter. “These other ways [of producing energy] work; the only question is if they’re competitive in price. Any hydrocarbon under pressure and temperature can turn into oil.”
Robinson added, “We only have two competitive ways of making energy at low costs: hydrocarbons [oil, gas, coal and methane clathrate] and nuclear, and both are demonized to the point that our country is in trouble.”
For the third straight day today, oil prices settled at a record high, gushing to a record $115.07 a barrel at one point. Gasoline prices have also been surging along with crude. AAA reports gasoline prices hit a new record of $3.399, up more than a penny from the previous day’s price of $3.386.
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