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Could offshore drilling become a thing of the past in Louisiana?

The major BP oil spill near Louisiana will leave lasting environmental issues in the Gulf. Offshore drilling is a source of fuel and jobs for many in this state. However, the inherent dangers of the job and its potential for negative environmental effects are leading some researchers to look to other fuel sources. For one researcher, the road has led to an unusual solution: yeast.

Researchers are now starting to use synthetic biology to solve our energy crisis. One leader in the field believes that microbes can be used to create fuel. Thus far he has used yeast to successfully create a synthetic form of artemisinin. This is a key ingredient used to produce a malaria treatment. Now, that same process used to make artemisinin has been tweaked to produce diesel fuel in Brazil.

The main problem with the diesel fuel is that it is more expensive than the current petroleum-based diesel fuel that is widely used. Now that it is possible to create fuel in this new way, the price must be brought down to make it a viable fuel option for Americans to use. In contrast, fuel produced through offshore drilling can still be mass-produced at an affordable price for consumers. In time it is hoped that this new fuel source will be more affordable so that workers do not have to risk life and limb in an offshore accident.

For workers injured in offshore accidents it is important to hold ship owners and companies that employ offshore workers responsible for any negligent actions. Workers are entitled to medical care and basic living expenses while recovering from injuries that resulted directly from an employer's negligence. An experienced platform injury attorney can help victims get the compensation for injuries that they deserve.

Source: NPR, "Put down oil drill, pick up the test tube: making fuel from yeast," Richard Harris, June 28, 2013

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