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Biofuel

Cold-tolerant, Oil-Producing Sugarcane

Written by , on February 26, 2014

A team led by researchers at the University of Illinois is using recent advances in plant biotechnology to increase sugarcane's geographic range, boost its photosynthetic rate and turn it into an oil-producing crop for biodiesel production. The team introduced genes into the sugarcane that boost natural oil production in the plant's stems to about 1.5%.  […]  Read more »

Petrol from Bacteria

Written by , on May 13, 2013

Until now, biofuels have been made up of hydrocarbon chains which are not truly compatible with most modern engines – they work inefficiently and may corrode the engine over time. For these biofuels to become a real alternative to fossil fuels, engines would have to be redesigned. Now, sceintists at the University of Exeter have […]  Read more »

Food and Fuel from Any Plant

Written by , on April 20, 2013

Researchers at Virginia Tech, led by Associate Professor Percival Zhang, have developed a process by which approximately 30% of the cellulose from any plant material (including agricultural waste) can be converted into a starch known as amylose. Amylose can be used in food or as biodegradable packaging. Cellulose and starch have the same chemical composiition […]  Read more »

Fuel from CO2 in the Atmosphere

Written by , on March 27, 2013

Researchers at the University of Georgia say that they have found a way to take the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use it to make useful industrial products, potentially including liquid fuels. The process uses a unique microorganism called a "rushing fireball" (Pyrococcus furiosus) which thrives by feeding on carbohydrates in the super-heated ocean […]  Read more »

New Slant on Biofuel from Trees

Written by , on January 20, 2013

British researchers have identified a genetic trait that causes willow trees to yield five times more biofuel if they grow diagonally, compared with those that are allowed to grow naturally up towards the sky. Scientists led by Dr Nicholas Brereton and Dr Michael Ray, both from the Imperial College London, found that when willows grow […]  Read more »

Milking Bacteria for Biofuel

Written by , on October 14, 2012

A team of scientists at MIT have genetically altered a common soil bacteria called Ralstonia eutropha into producing biofuel and expelling biofuel into its growing medium instead of retaining it within its body. Normally, biofuel is extracted from bacteria by crushing it; the new process is analagous to milking. The biofuel, isobutanol, can be blended […]  Read more »

Turning Seaweed into Fuel

Written by , on January 31, 2012

Seaweed would seem to an ideal source of biomass for making renewable fuels. Kelp has a high sugar content; it doesn’t need farmland or fresh water and large quantities can be sustainably harvested. Harvesting the kelp which is already growing along 3% of the world’s coastlines could potentially produce 60 billion gallons of ethanol. The […]  Read more »

Biofuels from Seaweed

Written by , on April 18, 2011

Producers of biofuels made from terrestrial biomass crops have difficulty breaking down some fibres and extracting fermentable sugars. The harsh pretreatment processes needed to release the sugars result in toxic byproducts and inhibit subsequent microbial fermentation. On the other hand, marine biomass can be easily degraded to fermentable sugars and production rates and range of […]  Read more »

Huge Algal Oil Potential – But Not Yet

Written by , on March 26, 2011

A report from the Energy Biosciences Institute in Berkeley projects that, while algal oil production technology has the potential to produce several billion gallons of renewable fuel annually, development of cost-competitive algae biofuel production will require much more long- term research, development and demonstration. In the meantime, several non-fuel applications of algae could serve to […]  Read more »

Miscanthus Grass Promising as Energy Crop

Written by , on May 31, 2010

Researchers from the UK Met Office have studied the benefits of various biofuel crops in models of the future global climate. They have found that the carbon that is released into the atmosphere from the loss of natural vegetation could be paid back by using miscanthus grass within 30 years.. Estimates for other biofuel crops, […]  Read more »