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Directory:Biofuels:Research and Development

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Directory of Biofuel Research and Development related to the process of converting organic-based matter into burnable fuel as a replacement for fossil fuel.

Biofuel Research and Development

  • Biofuels > R&D >
    New Ethanol Process Boosts Recoverable Energy By 2000% - The new process uses bacteria and fermentation processes optimized to extract as much energy as possible from corn stover, the leftover stalk, stem, and husks from corn plants. But a new bioelectrochemical process pioneered by Gemma Reguera utilizes microbial electrolysis cells, or MEC’s, to break down and ferment ethanol feedstock. (Gas2; July 19, 2012)
  • Alt Fuels > Biomass > Biofuels > R&D >
    New Gasification Process More Efficiently Converts Biomass to Biofuels - Researchers at the Universities of Massachusetts and Minnesota have created a gasification process that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and doubles the amount of fuel via a special catalytic reactor that converts all the CO2 and and methane into carbon monoxide, which can be used to create biofuels. The system could be market-ready in as few as two years. (PhysOrg; Apr. 21, 2010)
  • Biomass / Biofuels > R&D >
    Plant-based fuel is cheap, easy, and ready to power your jet - 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. (GizMag; March 11, 2010)
  • Biofuels > R&D >
    Wood-Eating Gribble May Hold the Key to Biofuel Production - The gribble, a tiny but destructive marine isopod that eats wood, produces enzymes necessary for converting wood into sugar. British researchers are now suggesting that what works for the gribbles could also work for converting wood waste and straw into liquid biofuels. (GreenTechMedia; March 11, 2010)
  • Waste to Energy > Sewage >
    New Microbe Strain Makes More Electricity, Faster - Researchers have coaxed Geobacter, the sediment-loving microbe who produce electric current from mud and wastewater, to evolve a new strain. It dramatically increases power output per cell (8x), overall bulk power, and with a thinner biofilm, cuts the time to produce electricity on the electrode. Now it is plausibe to begin designing microbial fuel cells for a myriad of applications including converting waste water to electricity. (NewsWise; July 29, 2009)
  • Biofuel From Forestry Waste Is Close - "We believe there are large volumes of residues that could be used for biofuel production in Europe and elsewhere," Hans Sohlstrom, VP of UPM-Kymmene said. "Around half of a tree's biomass is currently left as residue which cannot be used for timber or paper production." (PlanetArk; Feb. 2009)


  • Pestering milfoil to be studied as a potential biofuel - Currently, milfoil is pulled out of lakes and streams and is so nutrient-rich, it burns other vegetation when piled on the shoreline. What if harvested milfoil could be turned into biofuel? Mitchell and Cesar “Sandy” Clavell received about $8,000 for initial research through the Washington state Department of Ecology to find out. (Spokesman Review; Oct. 3, 2008)
  • New Route to Hydrocarbon Biofuels - Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a simple, two-step chemical process to convert plant sugars into hydrocarbon fuels. The compounds created during the process could also be used to make other industrial chemicals and plastics. (MIT Technology Review; Sept. 22, 2008)
  • Colorado researches study biodiesel-producing tree - Researchers at the University of Northern Colorado are cloning the genes responsible for the production of oleoresin, a diesel-like fuel, produced in the copaiba or "diesel tree". The genes will then be transferred into plants and algae to determine which plants are compatible and can produce the most biodiesel. (Biodiesel Magazine; July 29, 2008)
  • Boosting Cellulosic Biofuels - A molybdenum sulphate catalyst developed by Dow in the 1980s improves the syngas-conversion process, and could theoretically achieve production rates of 130 gallons of alcohol per ton of biomass, compared to the 60-to-80-gallon yields produced by existing biochemical fermentation plants. (MIT Technology Review; July 28, 2008)
  • Argonne, UChicago researchers pursue grasses as Earth-friendly biofuel - The Argonne ecologists are working with several cultivars of switchgrass that differ in geographic origin and genetic attributes. In addition to switchgrass, they planted a number of other species, including big bluestem, Indiangrass and Canadian wild rye. Julie Jastrow and her colleagues are seeking to determine which grasses produce high yields of harvestable biomass while also pumping the most carbon underground through root growth. (WebWire; July 21, 2008)
  • Research yields pricey chemicals from biodiesel waste - Ramon Gonzalez, Rice's William W. Akers Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, said that the new metabolic pathways they have uncovered, paved the way for the development of new technologies for converting this waste product into high-value chemicals such as succinate, formate and lactate with processes licensed to Glycos Biotechnologies Inc. (Rice University; June 26, 2008)
  • Solar > Solar Powered Microbes Manufacture Biofuels - A newly created microbe produces cellulose that can be turned into ethanol and other biofuels, report scientists from The University of Texas at Austin who say the microbe could provide a significant portion of the nation's transportation fuel if production can be scaled up. (U of TX; Apr. 23, 2008)
  • Green Gasoline Could Power Future Cars and Jets - Researchers have made a breakthrough in the development of "green gasoline," a liquid identical to standard gasoline yet created from biomass sources like switchgrass and poplar trees. (Renewable Energy World; April 10, 2008)
  • Virgin Flies Biofueled Jet - Virgin Atlantic carried out the world's first flight of a commercial aircraft powered with biofuel on Sunday in an effort to show it can produce less carbon dioxide than normal jet fuels. (PhysOrg; Feb. 24, 2008)
  • State makes big fuss over local couple's vegetable oil car fuel - Decatur resident Dave Wetzel may be in hot cooking oil with the Illinois Department of Revenue, who claim he needs to pay $244 in back taxes for the gallons of vegetable oil he has been running his Volkswagon car on for the past 5 years. A threatening letter stated that acting as a supplier and receiver without a license is a Class 3 felony, requiring a $2,500 bond. (Herald and Review; Illinois; March 1, 2007)
  • Oil from Wood - Dutch start-up venture, Kior, has developed a process for creating "biocrude" directly from biomass. The process could prove relatively cheap, relies on a nontoxic catalyst, taps into the present fuel-refining and transportation infrastructure, and produces clean-burning fuels that can be used in existing engines. (MIT Technology Review; Nov. 9, 2007)
  • Could artificial life help the energy industry? - Craig Venter, who has created an artificial chromosome, believes designer genomes could eventually lead to alternative energy sources previously unthinkable. Bacteria could be created that could help mop up excessive carbon dioxide, or produce fuels such as butane or propane made entirely from sugar. (Guardian; UK; Oct. 10, 2007)
  • Engineering Bacteria to Make Gasoline - A biotech startup describes how it will coax petroleum-like fuels from engineered microbes within three to five years. To do this, the company is employing tools from the field of synthetic biology to modify the genetic pathways that bacteria, plants, and animals use to make fatty acids, one of the main ways that organisms store energy. (MIT Technology Review; Aug.1, 2007)
  • Boeing Helping to Develop Algae-Powered Jet - Air New Zealand and airliner manufacturer Boeing are secretly working with Blenheim-based biofuel developer Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation to create the world's first environmentally friendly aviation fuel, made of wild algae. (Slashdot; July 18, 2007)
  • Biofuels from Wood Chips - Three University of California campuses and West Biofuels LLC, will develop a prototype research reactor to make biofuels without food crops or microbial fermentation. It will use steam, sand and catalysts to efficiently convert forest, urban, and agricultural “cellulosic" wastes into alcohol that can be used as a gasoline additive. (PhysOrg; Jun. 12, 2007)
  • Engineering Bacteria to make Biofuels - LS9 is using synthetic biology to engineer bacteria that can make hydrocarbons for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Hydrocarbon fuels are better suited than ethanol to existing delivery infrastructure and engines, and their manufacture would require less energy. Amyris and SunEthanol are also trying to use synthetic biology to produce biofuels. (MIT Technology Review; Jun. 6, 2007)
  • Tel Aviv University Makes Magic Mushroom for Biofuel - A Tel Aviv University scientist, Amir Sharon, may have discovered an alternative to food crops for biofuel. His team has genetically engineered a mushroom to be less sensitive to external conditions and environmental stresses; and to be more sustainable in culture during fermentation, and have both enhanced growth rate and spore production. (TypePad; March 7, 2007)
  • Sake may power cars in the future - Japanese motorists may one day pump their cars full of sake, the fermented rice wine that is Japan's national drink. The government-funded project at Shinanomachi will produce cheap rice-origin ethanol brew with the help of local farmers who will donate farm waste such as rice hulls to be turned into ethanol. (Reuters; May 11, 2007)
  • A Better Biofuel - A California biotech company, Amyris Biotechnologies, is engineering microbes to produce cheap biofuels that could out-compete ethanol. (MIT Technology Review; April 3, 2007)
  • Spanish Firm Claims it Can Make Oil from Plankton - Bio Fuel Systems claims to have developed a method of breeding plankton and turning the marine plants into oil, providing a potentially inexhaustible source of clean fuel. This system of bioconversion is said to be about 400x more productive than any other plant-based system producing oil or ethanol. (Reuters; July 21, 2006)
  • Algae That Cleans Emissions and Produces Fuel - Isaac Berzin, a rocket scientist at MIT, has come up with an idea for using algae to clean up power-plant exhaust. Algae farms near power plants would reduce CO2 and nitrous oxide emissions, filtered through the algae. Then the CO2-saturated algae is harvested and squeezed to produce a combustible vegetable oil (biodiesel) and a dried green substance that can be further processed into ethanol. (USA Today; Jan. 10, 2006) (See Slashdot discussion)
  • Hawaii Research Shows Algae Promising as Biofuel - Barry Raleigh is doing research into making diesel fuel out of algae. Finding a viable way to replace petroleum will be a major topic at a biotech summit in Waikiki. (Star Bulletin; Jan. 11, 2006)
  • Grape Offers Biofuel Potential - Scientists from the University of Texas at Austin have managed to produce electricity inside a single grape -- perhaps the smallest membrane-less fuel cell ever. The technology could lead energy devices that could be implanted in the human body. (Fuel Cell Today; Sept. 27, 2005)
  • The Next Big Fuel Source: Microbes? - Termite guts and canvas-eating jungle bugs could be the key to kicking the oil habit and achieving energy independence. At least that's what scientists working on creating ethanol from plant waste are hoping. After a few microbiological twists and turns, the result is ethanol without the corn. (TreeHugger; Feb. 14, 2006)
  • Fast-Growing Trees Could Take Root as Future Energy Source - Purdue University researchers are using genetic tools in an effort to design trees that can reach 90 feet in six years and be grown as a row crop on fallow farmland, readily and inexpensively able to yield the substances needed to produce alternative transportation fuel. (PhysOrg; Aug. 23, 2006)

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