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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 »

Biofuel from Bacteria

Written by , on May 28, 2010

Scientists at Arizona State University have reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science that they have genetically engineered bacteria to produce biofuel. Researchers Xinyao Liu and Roy Curtiss have engineered cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that continuously secret the oil.  The scientists started by producing cyanobacteria carrying the enzyme thioesterase, that clips the bonds […]  Read more »

Sustainable Jet Fuel

Written by , on March 19, 2010

British Airways has unveiled plans to establish what it believes will be Europe’s first ‘sustainable’ jet fuel plant The plant will produce aviation fuel from plasma gasification of biomass into BioSynGas which is then converted into jet fuel. The facility will process all types of biomass and residue feedstock which will mainly be sourced from […]  Read more »

Fuels Made by Bacteria

Written by , on February 3, 2010

A research team from the Joint BioEnergy Institute and biotech firm LS9 have modified E. coli bacteria to produce biodiesel from plant sugars. The biodiesel can be transported in diesel pipelines and burned in standard diesel engines. It releases far fewer greenhouse gases than conventional fossil diesel. E. coli was previously known to synthesize fatty […]  Read more »

More Efficient Biofuel Production

Written by , on January 20, 2010

A team of scientists, led by Professor Will Zimmerman from the University of Sheffield, has developed an innovative device which will make the production of alternative biofuels more energy efficient. The team have devised an air-lift loop bioreactor in which gas microbubbles (less than 50 microns in diameter) transfer materials in the liquid in the […]  Read more »