Thursday, July 30, 2009
This process yielded organic salts, which were converted to ketones and then to high-octane gasoline."
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I agree with the linked article that we chould make more use of combined heat and power (chp) production and natural gas, but I do not agree with pitting these technologies against ethanol. CHP can be combined with ethanol production for greater production efficiency. On the use side, most people are going to want liquid fueled engines in combination with plug-in electric in order to extend the range. Ethanol or other high octane biofuels could be the perfect fuel for this application. A small engine running at a consant speed just for battery recharging can be optimized to make the best possible use of ethanol, thereby increasing efficiency of the system. There would be little or no fuel economy deficit when using ethanol in an optimized engine.
ARS researchers have been thinking outside the box. Rather than focusing only on the difficult task of converting xylose into ethanol, they developed yeasts that can use xylose for energy and thereby convert more of the glucose in the feedstock into ethanol. Xylose is a type of sugar that is found in cellulosic biomass. But many cellulosic type materials also contain glucose. Jerusalem artichoke stems and sweet sorghum stems might be good candidates.
New Yeasts Could Help Fast-Track Biofuel Production / July 28, 2009 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service: "The new yeast doesn’t directly convert large quantities of xylose into ethanol. Instead, xylose provides energy the yeast needs to grow and reproduce without oxygen. This means that the glucose that might have been used by the yeast to grow and reproduce is now available for fermentation, and the rate of ethanol conversion increases."