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Ethanol

Building on methods used by farmers to produce silage for feeding livestock, Japanese researchers have developed a technology for simultaneous biofuel and animal feed production which doesn't require off-site processing. The solid-state fermentation (SSF) system captures ethanol produced as a result of fermentation resulting from wrapping rice plants grown to feed livestock in a plastic-covered bale containing yeast, enzymes and bacteria. Read More
Zymomonas mobilis bacterium might be tricky to say, but this bioethanol-producing microbe could become a household name if Indiana University biologists have their way. The biologists claim have found a quicker, cheaper, cleaner way to increase bioethanol production in this microorganism by using the most abundant element in the Earth’s atmosphere: nitrogen gas (N2). By replacing chemical fertilizers with N2, production costs could be slashed and cellulose ethanol derived from wood pulp made much more economically viable – so much so that the researchers believe it may compete with corn ethanol and gasoline on price. Read More
This is science at its best: Decades ago, the only practical use for sawdust was to soak up vomit, but thanks to scientists at a Belgian university who developed a new chemical process, that same sawdust could soon be used to create gasoline and other products normally derived from petroleum. Read More
Thanks to its extensive composting and recycling facilities, the city of Edmonton, Canada is already diverting approximately 60 percent of its municipal waste from the landfill. That figure is expected to rise to 90 percent, however, once the city's new Waste-to-Biofuels and Chemicals Facility starts converting garbage (that can't be composted or recycled) into methanol and ethanol. It's the world's first such plant to operate on an industrial scale, and we recently got a guided tour of the place. Read More
Ethanol may be touted as a more eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels, but it's not without its own drawbacks. Most importantly, the corn or other plants required as feedstock often take up field space that could otherwise be put to use growing food crops. Also, as with other plants, the feedstock crops require large amounts of water and fertilizer. Now, however, scientists at Stanford University have devised a method of producing liquid ethanol from carbon monoxide gas. Read More
Urbee 2, the first road-ready, fuel-efficient car built using 3D printing, is the subject of a collaboration between design firm KOR EcoLogic, direct digital manufacturers RedEye On Demand, and 3D-printing manufacturer Stratsys. Their aim is to put the 7 hp (5 kW) three-wheeled, rear-steering eco-hybrid on the roads by 2015, and then demonstrate its capabilities by crossing the US using only ten gallons (38 L) of fuel. Read More
With some help from a robotic fish, scientists have discovered that zebrafish are much like humans in at least one way – they get reckless when they get drunk. OK, “drunk” might not be technically accurate, but when exposed to alcohol, the fish show no fear of a robotic version of one of their natural predators, the Indian leaf fish. When they’re “sober,” they avoid the thing like crazy. The researchers believe that the experiments indicate a promising future for robots in behavioral studies. Read More
The state of Pernambuco in Brazil’s northeast is going to become home to the country’s first algal biomass plant, thanks to an agreement between See Algae Technology (SAT), an Austrian developer of equipment for the commercial production of algae, and JB, one of Brazil’s leading ethanol producers. The plant will produce algal biomass from natural and genetically modified strains of algae. Read More
So, is that really Johnnie Walker Blue that you’re drinking, or is it perhaps actually Johnny Woker Bloo? Counterfeit Scotch whiskeys are more common than you might think, with the Scotch Whiskey Association reportedly handling between 60 to 70 active cases of counterfeiting at any one time. While there are lab tests that can identify the fakes, not every bar owner or restaurateur has the time or funds for those. Fortunately for them, scientists from Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde have devised a quicker, simpler, less costly system. Read More
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
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