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Biofuel


— Science

Mitochondria fuel cells could be powered by soda pop

In Back to the Future, the Mr. Fusion cold fusion device could produce electricity from food scraps. Well, cold fusion is still some ways off (depending on who you talk to), but powering electronics with food may not be. Shelley Minteer, a Professor of Chemistry at Saint Louis University in Missouri, announced this Wednesday the development of a biofuel cell that could be powered by sugars or fats like those found in soda pop or vegetable oil. The device incorporates mitochondria, which are found within the cells of our own bodies, where they serve to produce energy from ingested calories. Are you listening, Doc Brown? Read More
— Science

One for the road: Researchers develop biofuel from whisky waste

The message is clear. Whisky and driving is not a good mix. But rules are made to be broken and researchers at Edinburgh Napier University have managed to successfully marry the two, albeit as a fuel for the vehicle and not the driver. Researchers have taken two by-products of the whisky-making process and transformed them into an energy dense biofuel that doesn't require vehicles to undergo any modification prior to use. Read More
— Environment

Nanotech coatings offer possibility of ‘brown’ electricity from sewage

While much of the focus on renewable electricity production focuses on green alternatives, a team of engineers at Oregon State University is looking at ways to improve electricity production from a “brown” source – namely sewage. The engineers found that using new coatings on the anodes of microbial electrochemical cells they were able to increase the electricity production from sewage about 20 times. Read More
— Environment

Roving mobile processing plants to produce biofuels

Biofuels are seen as a more environmentally friendly fuel source than petroleum-based fuels, but transporting the bulky biomass used to produce them is expensive because of their volume. It’s much more economical to transport the liquid fuel after it has been processed but this isn’t possible if the processing facilities are located far from the source of the biomass. A new method to process agricultural waste and other biomass could enable the creation of mobile processing plants that would rove the Midwest to produce fuels where the biomass is sourced. Read More
— Aircraft

Double bubble aircraft design would use 70 percent less fuel

The contribution of aircraft to greenhouse gas emissions has been well documented and while biofuels are being trialled in an effort to combat the issue, an expected doubling in air traffic by 2035 suggests that a fundamental shift in technology is needed to make real progress. That's the starting point for the D “double bubble” – a design concept presented to NASA by an MIT led research team which promises a 70 percent improvement in fuel economy, reduced noise, lower nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and the ability to use shorter runways. Read More
— Medical

Sugar-powered biofuel cell to power artificial organs and medical implants

The miniaturization of electrical sensors coupled with the development of flexible silicon technology paves the way for a wide variety of medical sensors that can be implanted into the human body. One of the major obstacles facing the development of such devices, not to mention artificial organs, is how they are powered. Currently devices need to be constantly recharged via an external power source or, as is the case with battery-powered pacemakers, replaced altogether. Now a team of French researchers has implanted a new type of biofuel cell into rats that overcomes these problems by generating electricity from a potentially limitless source - sugar in the rat’s bodies. Read More
— Environment

Putting the pressure on algae to create biofuel

If you’ve read even a little bit about potential sources of biofuel, you’ll know that algae is one of the big ones. During photosynthesis, the unicellular aquatic plant turns sunlight and carbon dioxide into oil. It’s grown in ponds, where it’s not taking land away from food production, and yields much more oil than other biofuel crops, such as corn or soybeans. Researchers at the University of Michigan have recently come up with a method of getting algae to give up its oil more quickly and efficiently than has previously been possible - they pressure cook it. Read More
— Environment

Renewable biofuel oozes from reprogrammed microbes

It seems like every day, a new way of producing biofuel is being discovered. Within the past few years, we’ve reported on technology that harvests biofuel from garbage, booze, crop waste, carbon dioxide and wood-munching marine isopods. Now, Arizona State University has announced a new development in the harvesting of biofuel from cyanobacteria microbes - ASU researchers Xinyao Liu and Roy Curtiss have genetically engineered bacteria that literally ooze the stuff out of their skins. Read More
— Environment

Plasma technology offers clean fuel breakthrough

The same process that illuminates big-screen plasma TV’s can now create ultra-clean fuels, according to a scientific report presented earlier this week. According to Prof. Albin Czernichowski from France’s University of Orleans, a device called a GlidArc reactor has successfully been used to create clean fuels from waste materials, utilizing electrically-charged clouds of gas called “plasmas.” One of the fuels is a form of diesel that reportedly releases ten times less air pollution than conventional diesel. Read More
— Environment

Tropical frog inspires new way to convert solar energy to biofuel

Natural photosynthesis isn't as efficient as we would like it to be, and incorporating solar energy into useful products is the subject for much collective research. Engineering researchers from University of Cincinnati have found a way to artificially create a photosynthetic material from foam which uses plant, bacterial, frog and fungal enzymes to produce sugars from sunlight and carbon dioxide. Read More
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