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Biofuel

Mariprofundus ferrooxydans PV-1 bacteria (Image: Clara S. Chan)

What do bacteria, wind turbines and solar panels have to do with one another? Nothing ... unless you can teach the bacteria to “breathe” electricity and turn it into biofuel. That’s still a very long way off, but a team of researchers at the BioTechnology Institute at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities have found a method for growing iron-oxidizing bacteria by feeding it electricity. It’s primarily a way to better study a recently-discovered type of bacteria, but it also holds the promise of turning electricity into biofuel.  Read More

Graduate student Zachary Baer works with a fermentation chamber to separate acetone and bu...

Researchers at the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) are generating bio fuels from renewable sources, such as sugar and starch, using a process that could be commercialized in as little as five to ten years. Although the fuels are currently more expensive to produce than those made from petroleum, they contain more energy per gallon than ethanol and the researchers say that, if adopted, could help to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.  Read More

The 100 percent biofuel-powered Falcon 20 being tailed by the data-collecting T-33

Earlier this year, Air Canada joined a growing number of airlines conducting flights using biofuels. Like similar flights by Boeing and Lufthansa, the aircraft was powered by a mix of petroleum and biofuel. Now the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) has removed the fossil fuel component completely with the first flight of a civil jet powered by 100 percent unblended biofuel.  Read More

Researchers at the University of Freiburg have developed a technique for making foam from ...

Germany is known for its cutting-edge policies on green issues, and its drive towards a clean economy. One of its latest eco-breakthroughs comes from the University of Freiburg's Biofoambark project. Researchers there are trying to green up the insulation foam used in construction, by replacing its petroleum-based ingredients with a naturally-occurring compound that ordinarily goes to waste in the lumber industry.  Read More

USU biochemist Michael R. Morgan posing beside the Aggie A-Salt Streamliner he piloted at ...

A cheese-powered dragster designed by researchers at Utah State University (USU) set a new speed record for a vehicle of its type, reaching a shade over 65 mph (104 km/h) at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association's 2012 World of Speed event in September. No prize Stilton was wasted in the pursuit of glory however, as the vehicle runs on yeast biodiesel derived from the industrial waste of cheese production.  Read More

A new study by Swiss research group Empa found that some biofuels, especially the ones mad...

The controversial debate over the sustainability of biofuels has been reignited by new research from Swiss-based research institute Empa. While the study maintains that biofuels can be sustainable depending on certain conditions and the technology involved, the findings suggest that only a few are more environmentally friendly than gasoline.  Read More

In the near future, genetically-altered Ralstonia eutropha bacteria could be used to conve...

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have succeeded in genetically altering Ralstonia eutropha soil bacteria in such a way that they are able to convert carbon into isobutanol, an alcohol that can be blended with or even substituted for gasoline. It is hoped that once developed further, this technology could help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and lessen the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by smoke stacks.  Read More

A diagram of the process utilized by the Endurance Bioenergy Reactor

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) have created a device called the Endurance Bioenergy Reactor (EBR) that can produce bioenergy on location, using waste from kitchens and latrines. The fuel can go directly into engines and generators without any need for refining, avoiding the complications of distribution and supply chains associated with fuel production. The researchers say the EBR can produce 25 to 50 gallons (94.6 to 189.2 liters) of biofuel a day from waste streams or processed cellulosic materials.  Read More

Researchers have developed a new lignin-solvent process to separate cellulosic biomass int...

In order to improve the sustainability credentials of biofuels, experts have been trying to figure out ways to produce them from non-food sources, such as cellulose – the material that makes up the cell walls of plants. Now, researchers from the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology (WIST) at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point have patented a process that they say paves the way for the creation of biofuels from cellulosic plant material.  Read More

Austrian company See Algae Technology is going to debut its algae production and harvestin...

The state of Pernambuco in Brazil’s northeast is going to become home to the country’s first algal biomass plant, thanks to an agreement between See Algae Technology (SAT), an Austrian developer of equipment for the commercial production of algae, and JB, one of Brazil’s leading ethanol producers. The plant will produce algal biomass from natural and genetically modified strains of algae.  Read More

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