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БЕЗОТХОДНАЯ ЦИВИЛИЗАЦИЯ: Утопия или реальность?

GLUCONICS AS THE UNIVERSAL RENEWABLE ENERGETIC

Yu. Magarshak Journal "Scientific Israel- Technological Advantages" Vol.12,3- 4 (Letters) 2010 189

 

 GLUCONICS AS THE UNIVERSAL RENEWABLE ENERGETIC 

Yu. Magarshak

 

Journal "Scientific Israel- Technological Advantages" Vol.12,3- 4 (Letters) 2010 189 

 

 

MathTech Inc., (New York, USA, 

ym4@nyu.edu 

The creation of the universal energetic system, similar to that one in living species, has been proposed. Development of industry for producing, preserving and consuming energy, which has been based on glucose and its enzymatically transformed derivatives (including biological energy shuttle ATP-ADP) was called GLUCONICS. Gluconics includes a number of scientific and technological fields of molecular biology (from photosynthesis to muscle functioning), chemical engineering (such as preservation and transportation of the glucose-based fuel), nanotechnology (in particular, creation of batteries which consume glucose-originated molecules, similar to those ones which are used for the same purpose in vivo, as an energy source), as well as a number of industries (energy generation, cars production, medicine, nano-technology etc.) In long perspective, humanity does not have any comprehensive alternative to the development of gluconics as the universal fuel. 

*** 

In 2004, the concept of altera vitae civilization (from Latin altera vitae, another life) has been proposed [1]. A general question was raised: can the humanity create the civilization, which does not brake the balance of ecosystem with inanimate nature and would operate completely or almost completely without waste? At this crucial strategic question, in principle, was given a positive answer. In this letter, attention is drawn to one of the key elements of the Altera Vitae Civilization, namely on the altera vitae energetic, which is operating similarly to the process of production, preservation, transmission and consumption energy in living species. 

Over thousands years, the energy of fire is central to humanity. Oil, coal and gas-power stations are based on the use of fire. The same is true for car engines and many other energy consuming devices. 

The burning of fuel has several shortcomings. The main ones are poor efficiency and pollutions, which little by little change the balance in biosphere and atmosphere. Alternative forms of energy production have also been gradually created and elucidated. The energy of falling water, originally used in mills, has been implied in hydropower plants. Universality of energy forms and the striking fact that the energy (in contrast to the three-dimensional space and four-dimensional space-time) is one-dimensional, theoretically allows convert any kind of energy in any other. In 20th century electricity has become the universal mean of quick energy transmission over thousands kilometers. However, the use of electricity also has shortcomings. The main one –it is impossible to store huge amounts of electricity like coal or wood. 

Creation of batteries which allow, for instance, to drive a truck for 500 kilometers like petrol based engines is problematic. To stock electricity in order to heat apartment building for a year is even more problematic: such batteries not only don’t exist, but their creation in any prospect does not look realistic. Electricity in large volumes is necessary to consume at once and that is a significant shortcoming. The question if the electricity will forever remain to serve as the universal energy transmitter of human civilization, or it must be substituted, at least partially, sounds suggestive. Is there an alternative to electricity as a universal physical process that provides and transmits energy? The answer is positive. 

Gluconics, which has been proposed recently [2], is a universal energy generation, preservation, transmission and consumption system fundamentally different from the way how humanity is using any fuel today. Its principles are similar to those ones in vivo and are absolutely different from the way of production, preservation and consumption of energy in the modern human civilization. In contrast to oil, coal and gas based energy plants, energetic in living species is based on enzymatic reactions rather than Journal "Scientific Israel- Technological Advantages" Vol.12,3- 4 (Letters) 2010 190 

burning. In contrast to electricity, in the hydrocarbons energy can be stored for thousands and even millions years. 

I. ENERGY GENERATION IN VIVO starts with the absorption of a photon in a process called photosynthesis. The total amount of energy produced by photosynthesis on the Globe is many times more powerful than all the power stations together. As a result of biochemical processes of energy creation, preservation and utilization, living creatures move, see, hear, think and so forth. All these complicated processes in biosphere are provided by carbon-based molecules rather than silicon based chips. To provide all these and many other functions in vivo is used one and only universal fuel - glucose. The derivatives of glucose, created as a result of enzyme creations, provide energy for all plant and animal species that have ever existed on the Earth for the last 3 billion years. The universality and perfection of glucose-based energy mechanisms in vivo is striking. It is suggestive to think: is it possible, using the same principles on which the universal energetic exists in biosphere, to build the universal energetic system used by the mankind? 

Analysis of the biological mechanisms, which are needed to be developed for the implementation of the glucose-based universal energy system in techno, which operates like that in living species, has shown that it is certainly possible. It would be prudent to use in the civilization the same universal fuel which proved its efficiency in biosphere: glucose and its derivatives. The name gluconics [3] as the general name of glucose-based industries, which should be created (like the word cybernetics determines the milticisciplinary area of dealing with creation, transmission and transformation of information) sounds the most appropriate. Estimates show that the energy consumption in biocenosis is 1-2 orders of magnitude (that is at least ten times) higher than the energy utilized by mankind during combustion of natural energy resources (oil, gas, coal). However, the biosphere is in the global balance with nature morta. To the contrary, technogenic civilization created a global disbalance boht with nature morta and biosphere after just less than two hundred years of its development. 

Does a civilization have a chance to survive and prosper in long perspective without a strategic switch to gluconics? Apparently the answer is no. There is no alternative to fundamental switch of human civilization to glucose-based energetic, along with docked technologies operating similar to mechanisms existing in vivo. Gluconics approach sounds much more reasonable and realistic than developing hydrogen energetic, which has been suggested as the universal fuel about 10 years ago and, although over ten billion dollars have been spent already all over the world, apparently will never substitute oil and electricity as the universal energy source because of fundamental problems which have not been taken into account. 

Universal primary energy source for all living species is the Sun. The absorption of light quanta by photosynthesis leads to the synthesizing of the molecule of glucose, which is a universal biological fuel. In the process of long-term energy storage, glucose is converted into its polimer forms, modifications and products of braking down. In plants as the universal energy storage serves a branching (dendrimer) molecules of alpha-glucose called starch. In animals as the universal energy storage serves a different dendrimer alpha-glucose modification called glycogen. In trees and plants, more than half of the mass is accumulated in the trunks and the branches, which are mainly constituted by the linear form of beta-glucose called cellulose. 

II. ENERGY PRESERVATION IN VIVO. Dendrimeric forms of glucose are very stable and can be preserved for a very long time. As soon as energy is needed by organism, the branched molecule of glucose-derivative is enzymatically splitted off. The ultimate (branch ending) glucose monomers are separated from the dendrimer one by one. As a result, the process of energy utilization in vivo is well controlled. Starch is accumulates in plant cells. These molecules form a reserve of nutrients, whereas the monomer molecules of glucose are not deposited in reserve. Starch is found in large quantities in all Journal "Scientific Israel- Technological Advantages" Vol.12,3- 4 (Letters) 2010 191 

cereal grains - wheat, rice, barley, potato etc. The total mass of starch, synthesized in vivo for a year in biocenosis, estimated at hundreds of billions tons. 

Glycogen is the main form of storing carbohydrates in animals. Glycogen is a polysaccharide deposited in the form of granules in the cytoplasm of cells. It is divided into monomers with a deficiency of glucose in the organism. Glycogen is stored mostly in liver (up to 6% by weight of the liver) and muscle (about 1% of muscle mass). Cellulose is a fiber. It is the main material which forms the tree trunks and branges. 

One starch macromolecule is constituted of as many as several hundred or even several thousand monomer units. One cellulose molecule is even larger. It can be formed of thousand monomer units or more. Cellulose forms a fiber that gives plants rigidity and durability. Cellulose fiber is stronger than steel wire of the same diameter. 

Cellulose, starch and glycogen have the same chemical formula (C6H10O5)n. However, the physical and biological properties of these glucose modifications are significantly different from each other. In cellular metabolism they are the substrates and products of different enzymes and occupy different places 

Both in space and in enzymatic pathways. 

III. ENERGY TRANSFORMATION IN VIVO. Chemical energy of chemical bonds in glucose is not used directly. It is taken from molecules which are created as a result of enzymatic modifications and braking down of glucose. This process consists of three subsequent stages, called glucolysis, tricarboxylic acid cycle and chemiosmosis. 

1. Glycolysis. Anaerobic metabolic pathway conversion of glucose C6H12O6 into pyruvic acid CH3COCO2H or its carboxylate anion CH3COCOO - known as pyruvate. As a result of passing through glycolysis pathway, involving ten enzymes and nine intermediate compounds, ‘energy shuttles’ ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and NADH (reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) are synthesized. 

2. Krebs Cycle (also called the tricarboxylic acid cycle or citric acid cycle) - the aerobic multienzyme system coupled with the end product of glycolysis (pyruvate). In eukaryotic cells Krebs cycle is localized in mitochondrion. Citric acid cycle begins with acetyl-CoA, enzymatically transforming it into a six-carbon compound called citrate. From each glucose molecule two acetyl-CoA molecules are produced. That’s why two citrate cycles are required per each molecule of glucose. At the end of two tricarboxylic acid cycles two ATP, six NADH, two QH2 (where Q is the acceptor fo electron) and four CO2 molecules are produced. 

3. Chemiosmosis, postulated by Peter Mitchell in 1961 [4]. In this highly organized process (which we just schematically outline) the synthesis of ATP molecules is a result of the hydrogen ions gradient on two sides of the inner mitochondrial membrane and the energy of shuttle molecules NADH and FADH, formed in glucolisis process and Krebs cycle. NAD and FAD push electrons through the electron transport chain on the inner side of the membrane, as the enzyme ATP synthase is pushing protons back to another side of the membrane. These processes operating in coherence provide energy sufficient for the ATP synthesis from ADP. 

 

As a result of these three stages of glucose braking down (Glycolisis, Krebs cycle and Chemiosmosis), from one molecule of glucose are synthesized up to 38 ATP molecules. ATP is constantly produced and consumed. It is never stored for a long time. For 24 hours period ATP-ADP shuttle can make hundreds or even thousands cycles. During an intensive work, ATP flow can be as large as 500 grams per minute. The total mass of ATP produced in a body for 24 hours can be larger than the mass of the body, whereas at any moment it is hundreds or even thousands times smaller than this value. In human body, the average total ATP mass at any moment is as little as 50 grams. 

IV. ATP-ADP SHUTTLE. By function, the couple ATP-ADP is a molecular two-stroke energy shuttle, which after each cycle returns to its original state. One should note that ATP<=>ADP is a cycle Journal "Scientific Israel- Technological Advantages" Vol.12,3- 4 (Letters) 2010 192 

rather than a reversible reaction, because the transformation in each direction is catalyzed by different ferments. In different organs ATP-ADP shuttle is docked with different physiological systems. Each turn or the shuttle energy cycle ATP<=>ADP gives a portion of energy to a system it is docked with. 

V. ENERGY CONSUMPTION IN VIVO. In living nature glucose-originated energy production and consumption system is docked with many life-providing processes. As an example let’s consider in the most general terms how glucose-based system is functioning in muscles. 

The universal molecular engine is muscle. The fundamental difference between engines which use natural (glucose-originated) energy sources in vivo from internal combustion engines in tecno is that first ones (1) operate at ambient temperature, (2) control the consumption of each (or almost each) molecule (3) are operating without producing irreversible waste and (4) are much more efficient. Muscle is a tissue which provides the universal mechanism used by multi cellular organisms to transform chemical energy into mechanical energy. Muscles are composed of actin (thin) and myosin (thick) filaments. The actin-myosin monomers are grouped into clusters. As a result of multiple repetitions of the cycle, implemented with the participation of the energy shuttle ATP-ADP in each cluster, constituted by regularly packed monomers of actin and myosin, muscle contracts. 

The glucose-based universal energy system in living nature (which also can be called life-gluconics or gluconics-in-vivo) is outlined above only schematically. Guconics in vivo even in ‘simplest’ unicellular organisms is much more complicated. Life-gluconics is very conservative because it is operating perfectly. While the generations of technologies in high-tech are replaced every few years, the same biological mechanisms (photosynthesis, glycolysis, Krebs cycle, hemiosmosis, muscle functioning and others) once established, operate basically unchanged in all species on the Earth for billions of years. The question: Is it possible to create a civilization, which is using the energy production, preservation and consumption based on the same principles as the energetic in wildlife, using the universal fuel glucose? - is natural and suggestive. Detailed analysis of this issue with experts in various fields needed for the creation of gluconics as multidisciplinary area showed that it is certainly possible. There are no insurmountable technical difficulties to reach this goal. All key areas needed for the creation of cluconics in techno (artificial photosynthesis [5,6], artificial muscle [7,8], genetic engineering, robotics [9], artificial censors, technological enzymology, bionanotechnology and many others) at present are developed very intensively. In order to create GLUCONICS as a system all relevant areas of research and development, at present considered as distinct, should be considered also as parts of one strategic progect. Even if it would require, say, 

100 billion dollars and 20 years of international efforts, they will pay off. 

In order to implement gluconics as the universal fuel, the first generation of key technologies should be created. The absolutely minimal set of technologies needed to begin the implementation of gluconics 

as the universal fuel is: 

1) Glucose generation. The plants and phytoplankton on the earth produce tens of thousands tons of glucose per second. Potentially, it can provide much more energy than all power plants which burn the fuel. Creation of artificial photosynthesis separated from tree leafs and phytoplankton is not a simple task. However, gene engineering can promote creation of photosynthetic cells which extract glucose outside rather than transform it into other biological substances inide 

2) The transformation of glucose in solid and liquid forms which are convenient for transportation and transferring by gluco-pipe lines, operating like water-pipes and oil-pipes. Apparently, primary forms of glucose-based fuel, convenient to be pipe-transfmitted and stored, will be glycogen, starch, cellulose and other stable derivatives of glucose. 

3) Preparation for utilization of glucose or/and its derivatives energy at room temperatures (without buring). The development of technologies, similar to these ones which are performed in mitochondria and cellular membrane (Krebs cycle and hemiosmosise), looks 

Journal "Scientific Israel- Technological Advantages" Vol.12,3- 4 (Letters) 2010 193 

 

realistic. Genetically modified cells, producing ATP, NADH and other key molecules in the outer space apparently can be created within several years. 

4) The docking of glucose derivatives with energy consumption technologies. First of all, the docked technologies, which transform the chemical energy saved in glucose and its derivatives into mechanical and electrical energy (which operate like muscle, electric ray etc.), must be developed. In living nature, such processes are known. The muscle converts the energy stored in glycogen into mechanical energy. The conversion of glucose energy in the color pattern has been performed in the chameleon skin, the perception of electro-magnetic signals takes place in the eye, and so on. 

 

Of particular interest is the docking glycolytic energy in nano scale. If such a docking would be carried out, the molecules that provide energy supply, energy utilization and operation in vivo and in techno will have the same nano-scale, and the identical carrier glucose (or/and its enzymatically created derivatives). That itself opens up tremendous prospects for the frontiers technologies, because all these mechanisms operate in the wildlife very effectively. 

Gluconics may become a part of the global energy sector within 10-20 years. Usually, the global energetic is understood as the creation of power stations that produce enormous energy. However, such understanding of the global energy appears to be illogically narrow. Photosynthesis is no less global energy mechanism on Earth than the processes that ensure the functioning of nuclear-, hydro-, oil- and coil power plants. The power produced by the absorption of one quantum of light is really extremely small. However, trillions of tons of phytoplankton and tens of billions of tons of tree leafs do repeat the photosynthesis process a huge number of times per second. As a result, the glucose production in vivo is able to generate energy by orders of magnitude greater than all fuel, burned by human for the same time. 

Creating industry of gluconics, proposed in this article, is nothing else than attempt to use in technology principles, which do already exist in the nature and work perfectly well. Therefore, in the future gluconics can become no less global energy system than nuclear, thermal and hydroelectric power plants, and as global as electric system. 

Like cybernetics, gluconics is a multidisciplinary area of research and development. In order to create the energy system constructed similarly to the one operating in living beings, humanity must undertake significant and coherent efforts. However, as soon as the system of energy production, preservation and consumption, based on glucose as the main energy provider, is created, it gives practically infinite source of renewable energy, which can remain to be in balance both with nature morta and biosphere for thousands, millions and even (like life itself) billions years. 

Analysis in the key areas of science and technologies needed for Gluconics development prove that there are no fundamental obstacles for the creation of Gluconics as an industry. Political and financial difficulties also can be overcome. Step by step, the applications of Gluconics and its docking with car production, nanotechnology, television, computers and other branches of modern industry will be developed. Gluconics as the universal system of energy production, preservation and consumption, based on principles and mechanisms identical to operating in vivo, should be and will be created. In the long term, humanity simply does not have any comprehensive alternative. 

REFERENCES 

1. O.Figovsky, Yu.B.Magarshak, "Altera Vitae Civilization: problems and perspectives" "Scientific Israel – Technological Advantages", vol. 6, No. 3, pp.1-9 (2004) 

2. Yu. Magarshak Humanity can create glucose-based universal energy system. Time (Vremya) Moscow, 21.04. (2010) 

3. Yu. Magarshak Gluconics – energetic system of the future Sanct Peterburg Time (Nevskoye Vremya) 22.05 (2010)

Journal "Scientific Israel- Technological Advantages" Vol.12,3- 4 (Letters) 2010 194 

 

4. Peter Mitchell "Coupling of phosphorylation to electron and hydrogen transfer by a chemi-osmotic type of mechanism". Nature 191: 144–148 (1961). 

5. Cédric Tard, Xiaoming Liu, Saad K. Ibrahim, Maurizio Bruschi, Luca De Gioia, Siân C. Davies, Xin Yang, Lai-Sheng Wang, Gary Sawers and Christopher J. Pickett. Nature 433, 610 – 613 (2005). 

6. Hu, Xile; Cossairt, Brandi M.; Brunschwig, Bruce S.; Lewis, Nathan S.; Peters, Jonas C. Chem. Commun., 37, 4723-4725 (2005). 

7. V.Bocharova, M.A. Arugula, M. Pita, Jan Halamek, E, Katz Artificial Muscle Reversibly Controlled by Enzyme Reactions Guinevere Strack, J. Phys. Chem. Lett., , 1 (5), pp 839–843 (2010) 

8. :J.D. Madden Artificial Muscle Begins to Breathe (17 March 2006) Science 311 (5767), 1559 

9. B. Tondu , S. Ippolito, J. Guiochet A. Daidie A Seven-degrees-of-freedom Robot-arm Driven by Pneumatic Artificial Muscles for Humanoid Robots The International Journal of Robotics Research, Vol. 24, No. 4, 257-274 (2005)

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