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Cellulosic

Virginia Tech associate professor Percival Zhang is leading the research on the bioprocess...

Although the causes of world hunger are numerous, it certainly doesn’t help that factors such as arid conditions and limited land space make it difficult to grow food crops in certain places. If people in those areas could eat foods derived from plants that are hardy to the region, but that aren’t considered nutritious, it would go a long way towards addressing the problem. Well, that may soon be a reality, thanks to a newly-developed process that allows cellulose to be converted into starch.  Read More

Underlying structure of the wall of a wood cell, showing the substructure of load-bearing ...

The Forest Products Laboratory of the US Forest Service has opened a US$1.7 million pilot plant for the production of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) from wood by-products materials such as wood chips and sawdust. Prepared properly, CNCs are stronger and stiffer than Kevlar or carbon fibers, so that putting CNC into composite materials results in high strength, low weight products. In addition, the cost of CNCs is less than ten percent of the cost of Kevlar fiber or carbon fiber. These qualities have attracted the interest of the military for use in lightweight armor and ballistic glass (CNCs are transparent), as well as companies in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, and medical industries.  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

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

Researchers have succeeded in producing isobutanol directly from cellulosic plant matter s...

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

Engineers at University of Wisconsin-Madison have found a way to convert 95% of the energy...

Engineers at University of Wisconsin-Madison have found a way to convert 95% of the energy of cellulosic biomass into jet fuel using stable, inexpensive catalysts, basic equipment and minimal processing. The end hydrocarbon product is so similar to jet fuel that it is ready for application by present internal engine designs.  Read More

Dr. Henry Daniell has developed a cheap way to produce ethanol from waste materials (Image...

While it may not quite be the Mr. Fusion energy reactor Doc Brown uses to convert household scraps into power for his time-traveling DeLorean, scientists have found a way to turn discarded fruit peels, newspapers and other waste products into cheap fuel to power the world’s vehicles. Its developer says the new approach is greener and less expensive than the current methods available to run vehicles on cleaner fuel and is part of his goal to relegate gasoline to a secondary fuel.  Read More

Replacing gasoline with biofuel derived from processed waste biomass could cut global emis...

If there’s one thing there seems to be an endless supply of, it's garbage. The idea of turning the trash that currently ends up in landfill into a fuel to combat the growing energy crisis and tackle carbon emissions isn’t new. Companies like Waste2tricity in the UK are already looking to convert waste from business and industry into clean electricity. Now scientists in Singapore and Switzerland have added credence to the idea, saying that replacing gasoline with biofuel derived from processed waste biomass could cut global emissions by 80%.  Read More

Efficiency gains: Mazda's hydrogen hybrids

June 25, 2008 Mazda has committed to cutting the fuel consumption of its vehicles by an average of 30% by 2015. The company is exploring a combination of fuel-cutting initiatives, including the development of lighter-weight technologies aimed at reducing vehicle weight by 100 kilograms from 2011, carbon neutral bioplastics, an Idle Stop system and an advanced version of the emissions-reducing Three Layer Wet Paint System fist introduced in 2005. Integral to the plan is the renewal of its entire powertrain lineup by 2015, with tests of its hydrogen hybrid system continuing ahead of plans for release in Japan in the coming fiscal year, as well as plans for a new gasoline rotary engine and new diesel engines.  Read More

April 4, 2008 Here’s a futuristic, car-related technology you won’t see in the next summer sci-fi blockbuster: the algae-powered automobile. Some varieties of the unicellular plant are being tweaked to produce of hydrogen, which can be used to power efficient, environmentally clean vehicles. Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory believe that algae’s ability to grow pretty much anywhere will enable it to be the energy farm of the near future.  Read More

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