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Biotechnology

New medical and other biotechnologies


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 »

Nanocellulose – 2. Recyclable Solar Cells

Written by , on April 22, 2013

Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University researchers have developed efficient solar cells on cellulose nanocrystal substrates. The cellulose substrates and made from plants and can be easily recycled at the end of their life. To date, organic solar cells have usually been fabricated on glass or plastic. Neither of these is easy to recycle […]  Read more »

Nanocellulose – 1. Engineering Algae to Make a “Wonder Material”

Written by , on April 22, 2013

At the American Chemical Society Conference, Dr Malcolm J Brown Jr, a leading researcher on nanocellulose since the 1970s, has reported major advances in producing nanocellulose from blue-green algae. The great strength and light weight of nanocellulose have fostered interest in using it in everything from lightweight armour and ballistic glass to wound dressings and […]  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 »

Low-cost Hydrogen from Any Biomass

Written by , on April 19, 2013

Researchers at Virginia Tech have discovered a way to extract large quantities of hydrogen from any plant, a breakthrough that has the potential to be a low-cost, environmentally friendly fuel source. Associate Proffessor Y.H. Percival Zhang and his team have succeeded in using xylose, the most abundant simple plant sugar, to produce a large quantity […]  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 »

Old Process Efficiently Produces Biodiesel

Written by , on February 17, 2013

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have discovered that a long-abandoned process, once used to turn starch into explosives, can be used to efficiently produce diesel fuel from plant sources such as corn, sugar cane, grasses and other fast-growing plants or trees. The process of bacterial fermentation was discovered nearly 100 years ago by […]  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 »

Producing Energy by Treating Waste Water

Written by , on August 13, 2012

Israeli company, Emefcy, has developed a microbe-based technology that harvests energy while treating waste water. The process starts with the same principle as most wastewater treatment – water is aerated so that bacteria in the liquid breaks down organic material. But instead of using electricity to push air into the water, Emefcy uses a permeable, […]  Read more »