Maybe we don’t need to import oil or create biofuels?maybe we just need to figure out how to use the oil we have. One researcher has figured out how to squeeze more petroleum out of abandoned or soon-to-be-abandoned oil fields.

Using his 40 years in the petroleum industry, Lewis Brown has already extended the life of one field by 17 years. His research involves the forced growth of oil-chasing microbes used to redirect injected water that, in turn, sweeps once-inaccessible oil from old wells into production. These are microbes that were originally developed to clean up oil spills.

Two-thirds of all U.S. oil remains in the ground because it’s not economically feasible to remove with existing technology. Brown says, “We’ve now developed a method to get some of that oil out of the ground?This will help give us more time to develop replacements for our major energy source.”

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