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Biofuel

The pilot plant in Stuttgart that makes biogas out of waste from wholesale markets (Photo:...

Some readers might remember the Mr. Fusion unit in Back to the Future that Doc Brown fills with household garbage, including a banana peel and some beer, to power the iconic time-traveling DeLorean. While we're still some way from such direct means of running our cars on table scraps, researchers at Fraunhofer have developed a pilot plant that ferments the waste from wholesale fruit and veg markets, cafeterias and canteens to make methane, which can be used to power vehicles.  Read More

BAL researchers say a new engineered microbe makes seaweed a cost-effective source of biof...

One of the biggest criticisms leveled at biofuels that are derived from crops such as wheat, corn and sugar cane, is that they result in valuable land being taken away from food production. For this reason there are various research efforts underway to turn seaweed into a viable renewable source of biomass. Now a team from Bio Architecture Lab (BAL) claims to have developed a breakthrough technology that makes seaweed a cost-effective source of biomass by engineering a microbe that can extract all the major sugars in seaweed and convert them into renewable fuels and chemicals.  Read More

The US Navy has successfully flown its MQ-8B Fire Scout UAV on a blend of JP-5 aviation fu...

The US Navy has successfully flown its MQ-8B Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) on biofuel. The unmanned helicopter became the Navy's first UAV to use biofuel technology when it took-off on Friday over Webster Field in St. Inigoes, Maryland, running on a blend of JP-5 aviation fuel and plant-based camelina. The Navy says that the use of this blend cuts carbon dioxide output by 75 percent when compared to conventional aviation fuel.  Read More

Tulane associate professor David Mullin (right), postdoctoral fellow Harshad Velankar (cen...

Hopefully, your old newspapers don’t just end up in the landfill. In the future, however, they might not even be used to make more paper – instead they may be the feedstock for a biofuel-producing strain of bacteria. Named “TU-103,” the microorganism was recently discovered by a team of scientists at New Orleans’ Tulane University. It converts cellulose – such as that found in newspapers – into butanol, which can be substituted for gasoline.  Read More

Mike Scharf's work with termites has shown that the insects' digestive systems may help br...

Ethanol is the most commonly used biofuel worldwide and is made by fermenting the sugar components of plant materials, usually sugar and starch crops such as sugar cane, corn and wheat. The difficulty in accessing the sugars contained in woody biomass, coupled with criticism that the use of food crops for biofuel production has a detrimental effect on the food supply has prompted research into biofuels that can be made from cellulosic biomass, such as trees and grasses. By looking at the digestive system of termites, researchers have now discovered a cocktail of enzymes that unlocks access to the sugars stored within the cells of woody biomass that could help make it a more viable source of biofuels, such as ethanol.  Read More

The SafetyNet, one of the finalists in Swiss Army Victorinox's 'Time to Care' competition ...

Victorinox has opened a public online vote to choose the best sustainable design submission to its "Time to Care" competition. The call for entries has been open since January 2011, and the seven best were chosen by jury in May. Throughout June, July, and August, the top seven designs are open to a public vote. The ultimate winner will be awarded prize money at a ceremony in October, and work with Victorinox to bring the design project to fruition.  Read More

Gulfstream G450 crosses the Atlantic on 50/50 biofuel-jetfuel blend

With the rising price of fuel and more stringent emissions regulations, there is a strong need for the aviation industry to begin taking steps to earn its green wings. It's not surprising therefore that biofuel was one of the hot topics at this week's Paris Air Show with both Boeing's 747-8 and Gulfstream's G450 business jet making the trip across the Atlantic on biofuel blends. The G450 flew in from Morristown, New Jersey, after a seven hour flight in which one of its Rolls-Royce engines was powered by a 50/50 blend of Honeywell Green Jet Fuel and petroleum-based jet fuel.  Read More

When the new Boeing 747-8 Freighter flies from Seattle to the Paris Air Show, it will mark...

One of the aircraft on display at next week's Paris Air Show will be Boeing's new 747-8 Freighter. While the 76-meter (250-foot) jumbo jet will no doubt be pretty impressive to see on the ground, what many gawkers may not realize is that its flight from Seattle to Paris will have marked an aviation milestone - it will be the first time a commercial aircraft has crossed the Atlantic Ocean using biofuel.  Read More

Microscopic image of the biodiesel emulsion fuel created by researchers

Nanoparticles have added yet another string to their microscopic bows with a new study showing that the addition of alumina nanoparticles can improve the performance and combustion of biodiesel, while producing fewer emissions. In the study, a team at India’s National Institute of Technology in Tiruchirappalli used nanoparticles with an average diameter of 51 billionths of a meter. The high surface-to-volume ratio of the nanoparticles means they have more reactive surfaces, which allows them to act as more efficient chemical catalysts and results in increased fuel combustion.  Read More

Shewanella bacteria, which produces ketones that are processed into fuel(Image from 'Culti...

Researchers from the University of Minnesota have announced a breakthrough in the quest to create a viable fuel alternative using greenhouse gases. The process uses two types of bacteria to create hydrocarbons from sunlight and carbon dioxide. Those hydrocarbons can in turn be made into fuel, which the scientists are calling "renewable petroleum."  Read More

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