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.
A new process developed by two professors at the University of Maryland could mean the ability to convert large volumes of all kinds of plant products, from leftover brewer's mash to paper trash, into ethanol and other biofuel alternatives to gasoline. When fully operational, the process could potentially lead to the production of 75 billion gallons of carbon-neutral ethanol each year.
Construction has begun on an integrated cellulose and starch ethanol commercial demonstration facility in Montana, USA. The plant is being built by AE Biofuels
, an energy company focused on developing next-generation ethanol and biodiesel production from both non-food and traditional materials.
Mazda unveiled the latest in its series of Nagare concept cars at North American International Auto Show
yesterday - the Furai P2 concept celebrates 40 years of rotary engine development at Mazda plus the company’s international motorsport heritage with the raciest interpretation of Nagare
design language to-date. The ethanol-burning, three-rotor rotary Furai is more than just a design exercise, having seen 180 mph on the racetrack and with strong hints that it is ready for production. The Furai concept serves as a turning point in the Nagare developmental process - while the four previous concept cars explored different ways to express Mazda’s emerging design philosophy and to explore an aesthetic, this one is all about function – every last texture and detail serves some functional purpose.
December 13, 2007 Missouri, USA is set to become home to a commercial industrial plant that will produce liquid biofuel from wood residues. The end product, known as “BioOil”, is an industrial fuel expected to be sold to commercial users as it is a price-competitive replacement for heating oils that are widely used in industrial boilers and furnaces.
November 9, 2007 The production of ethanol as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuel throws up a number of challenges - in particular it has been argued that the amount of land required to produce crops for ethanol fuel production is too great, taking away land that is needed for food production. The use of cellulosic biomass to make commercial ethanol has been seen as a possible solution to this problem and now Range Fuels has now announced plans for the first commercial ethanol plant in the U.S. to use cellulosic biomass
August 21, 2007 In an effort to prevent an impending energy crisis, industries are considering various alternative energy sources
with which to continue generating power whilst reducing environmental impacts. Biofuels are one alternative being adopted within the transport sector, but some experts are warning that biofuels may do more harm than good.
August 2, 2007 If you ever doubt the creativity of modern science, just throw a serious challenge at it and watch the myriad responses you receive. Rising oil prices and historical data are signifying that Hubbert’s “peak oil”
may be upon us, and the rush is on all over the world to find viable alternative energy sources
to replace the dwindling crude that’s powered us into the technology age. But what if we could just ‘grow’ more oil? The deadly bacteria E. coli, might seem like an unlikely ally, but scientists in California are claiming they have successfully genetically manipulated the deadly bug and a host of other bacteria to produce pure hydrocarbon chains that can be processed into biofuels. In fact, they’re getting so good at it that they can coax the bacteria into producing a substance that’s exceptionally close to crude oil – minus the sulfur impurities that taint the oil we pump out of the ground - and ready to be put through a standard refinery to produce petrol, diesel, jet fuel or any other petroleum product. There’s also talk of other, far more pure and powerful fuels that need no further refinement before they go to the pump. Could the next great oil barons be bug farmers?
April 3, 2007 Dr. Timothy M. Swager has a nose for explosives. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor of Chemistry claims he can “almost always take a whiff of a chemical and make a pretty good guess as to what class a volatile compound might be in.” But Swager’s nose is nothing compared to the amplified chemical sensors he invented to detect vapors of common bomb-making chemicals, such as TNT. For his entire body of inventive work, the Lemelson-MIT Program
named Swager the 2007 winner of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the most-prestigious cash prize for invention in the United States. This year, the prize criteria were modified to specify the winner be a mid-career inventor who is rising in his or her field.