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Biofuel

Algae may indeed be a potential source of biofuel, but it can also find use in things like nutritional supplements and cosmetics. When it's grown commercially, its growth is usually aided with chemical fertilizers. The cost of those chemicals cuts into the profits, however, plus the fertilizers are also needed for more traditional crops. That's why scientists from Houston's Rice University are looking into growing algae in municipal wastewater – the water would already contain its own free fertilizer, plus the algae would help clean it up. Read More
Even if you've never been in a situation rougher and more life-threatening than a KOA campground, there's something comforting about knowing that you're prepared to start a fire in the wettest, nastiest conditions that Earth can hurl at you. Perhaps that's why we're always fascinated with versatile, new fire-starting materials, especially when they have awesome names. Fire Dragon from BCB International is a new, ultra-versatile, purportedly eco-friendly way of getting a roaring blaze sparked or meal cooked. Read More
Building on methods used by farmers to produce silage for feeding livestock, Japanese researchers have developed a technology for simultaneous biofuel and animal feed production which doesn't require off-site processing. The solid-state fermentation (SSF) system captures ethanol produced as a result of fermentation resulting from wrapping rice plants grown to feed livestock in a plastic-covered bale containing yeast, enzymes and bacteria. Read More
Almost a year ago, Boeing announced that it was looking into running airliners on a mixture of jet fuel and "green diesel" – the latter of which is made from vegetable oils, waste cooking oil and waste animal fats. Yesterday in Seattle the corporation followed through on that plan, flying its ecoDemonstrator 787 flight test airplane on the fuel blend. Read More
One man's waste is another's man's bus fuel, so the saying might now go. Indeed, next time people in the UK go for a number two, they could be powering the number two bus. Geneco's new Bio-Bus is powered by gas generated via the treatment of sewage and food waste. Read More
If worries over the environment are keeping you from the local pub, then it’s time to raise a glass. Scottish start-up Celtic Renewables, based in Edinburgh, has achieved proof of concept in producing biofuel and other useful products from the waste by-products of the country’s £4.3 billion (US$6.8 billion) whisky industry. Read More

Two years ago, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner became the first biofuel-powered aircraft to cross the Pacific Ocean. It was actually running on a biofuel/regular jet fuel mix, with the biofuel derived mainly from used cooking oil. Now, in the interest of ensuring a consistent supply of that biofuel, Boeing has partnered with Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) to produce it in a pilot plant. Read More

Biofuels may indeed offer a greener alternative to fossil fuels, but they do raise at least one concern – crops grown as biofuel feedstock could take up farmland and use water that would otherwise be used to grow crops for much-needed food. That's why some scientists have looked to seaweed as a feedstock. Kelp is particularly attractive, in that it's abundant and grows extremely quickly, although its fuel yields haven't been particularly impressive. That could be about to change, however, thanks to a newly-developed hydrothermal process. Read More
Propane is an appealing fuel, easily stored and already used worldwide, but it’s extracted from the finite supply of fossil fuels – or is it? Researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Turku have engineered E. coli bacteria that create engine-ready propane out of fatty acids, and in the future, maybe even sunlight. Read More
As part of the aviation industry’s efforts to use biofuels to drive down its carbon footprint, Boeing has announced a collaboration with South African Airways and SkyNRG to produce aviation fuel from a new, virtually nicotine-free tobacco plant. Test farms are already up and running, with Boeing hoping to use local tobacco growing lands and expertise to produce sustainable biofuel without impacting food-bearing crops or encouraging smoking. Read More
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