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Biofuel

Science

Termite guts could provide a way to produce biofuel from woody biomass

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

Good Thinking

Victorinox raises awareness of sustainable design and innovation

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

Aircraft

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

Aircraft

Boeing 747-8 Freighter to make first biofuel-powered transatlantic flight

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

Science

Spiking biofuel with nanoparticles found to increase performance

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
Aircraft

F-22 Raptor hits Mach 1.5 on camelina-based biofuel

The U.S. Air Force’s goal of acquiring 50 percent of its domestic aviation fuel via alternative fuel blends derived from domestic sources by 2016 got a boost on Friday March 18, when an F-22 Raptor was successfully flown at speeds of up to Mach 1.5 on a 50/50 fuel blend of conventional petroleum-based JP-8 (Jet Propellant 8) and biofuel derived from an inedible plant called camelina. The flight capped off a series of ground and flight tests carried out earlier in the week for the Raptor using the biofuel blend to evaluate its suitability in the F-22 weapons system. Read More

Environment

Researchers use bacteria to produce potential gasoline replacement directly from cellulose

With the situation in Libya causing a spike in fuel prices worldwide there's some good biofuel-related news out of the U.S. Department of Energy's BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) that could help to reduce many countries' dependence on oil imports. For the first time, BESC researchers have succeeded in producing isobutanol directly from cellulosic plant matter using bacteria. Being a higher grade of alcohol than ethanol, isobutanol holds particular promise as a gasoline replacement as it can be burned in regular car engines with a heat value similar to gasoline.Read More

Environment

Agave shows potential as biofuel feedstock

Agave is a very hardy, useful plant. It grows in hot, arid conditions, and has found use in the production of beverages, food, and fiber. Now, it looks like it could have yet one more use – a Mexican botanist believes it could be an excellent biofuel feedstock. Not only does it grow quickly, but global climate change shouldn’t adversely affect it, and it doesn’t compete with food crops.Read More

Science

New yeast strain produces ethanol more efficiently

The biofuel industry stands to benefit from the development of a new variety of yeast which produces ethanol from plant products more efficiently. Engineered by combining two existing yeast species, the new strain can simultaneously consume two types of sugar commonly found in plants to produce ethanol. Read More

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