Wonder in Beyond Earth
|Requires|| 2 Xenomass|
|Notes||+5 Petroleum, Titanium, and Geothermal resources.|
The Xenomalleum will permanently tie up 2 Xenomass resources.
"If the planet didn't want to be tapped, then why is it made out of fuel?" - Hutama, We are All Destined to Prosper
One of the greatest frustrations of life post-Mistake was that the utility of organic hydrocarbons became increasingly apparent as it became harder and harder to find remaining deposits of oil, tar, coal, and metamorphic biomass. Writings of the time express anger at the previous generations which had wasted these through combustion to power primitive, wasteful machinery, instead of using them as the basis for neoplastics and fertilizers.
The colonists arrived on a relatively young planet, although one that had been supporting life for about the same time as Earth. Consequently there were ample stocks of biologically-derived hydrocarbons in both the lithosphere and on the surface, and the colonists had the theoretical knowledge of advanced extraction and refining methods. But there were subtle differences between the new planet's stocks of coal, oil, peat and tar, and those from Old Earth, and these differences caused headaches for miners and refiners. Machinery wore down faster, catalysts failed to catalyze necessary reactions, and spoiled stocks were often par for the course. Worse, a mutated strain of H. pylori brought by the colonists developed an insatiable appetite for these new fuels, and the "oil bug" tore through the planet, contaminating the stocks further.
In one of the great serendipitous events of the planetfall, researchers working on nanodelivery of therapeutic RNA strands found a gene sequence which caused the bacteria contaminating the oils to act as tiny refineries, stacking hydrocarbon chains and feeding on dross from the process. Simply by dumping the appropriate virus into contaminated planetary fuel, the fuel could be converted into one of the most powerful, energy-efficient substances ever created through organic process. The resulting material was called Xenomalleum.
In retrospect, the creation of Xenomalleum probably saved the entire prospect of biochemical fuels, and prevented the new world from going from hydrofuel Eden to a wasted Armageddon. Xenomalleum underpins all our complex hydrocarbon chemistry: Fuels, fertilizers, drugs, plastics, lubricants, refrigerants, nanite stabilizers - all possible now only because of the miracle of Xenomalleum.