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CMC adjunct Nick Harris researches ground-breaking energy technology

This article was published in the March 2, 2014 Aspen Daily News. By Nelson Harvey.

Nick Harris, an assistant instructor and biofuels researcher at the Colorado Mountain College campus in Rifle, rotates a test tube of bacteria inside an anaerobic chamber at the school’s lab. Harris’ bacteria production will eventually be scaled up and used in a test project to “eat” grass and produce butanol, which is a direct replacement for gasoline. Photo: Chris Council, Aspen Daily News.

Nick Harris, an assistant instructor and biofuels researcher at CMC in Rifle, rotates a test tube of bacteria inside an anaerobic chamber at the school’s lab. Harris’ bacteria production will eventually be scaled up and used in a test project to “eat” grass and produce butanol, which is a direct replacement for gasoline. Photo: Chris Council, Aspen Daily News.

Nick Harris is a very slow dishwasher. And while his girlfriend at home may loathe him for it, such cautious deliberation has come to serve him well in the lab.

On a recent afternoon, in a fluorescent-lit back room on the Rifle campus of Colorado Mountain College (CMC) Harris snapped on latex gloves, carefully sterilized a glass beaker and filled it with nutrient solution. He dropped a hose in the brew and began bubbling through pure nitrogen gas to drive out any oxygen. Finally, he poured the solution into a set of small glass test tubes, then capped and deposited them in a nitrogen-filled anaerobic chamber. Click for full article