As biofuel production has increased – particularly ethanol derived from corn – a hotly contested competition for feedstock supplies has emerged between the agricultural grain markets and biofuel refineries. This competition has sparked concern for the more fundamental issue of allocating limited farmland resources, which has far-reaching implications for food security, energy security and environmental sustainability.
A class of chemical compounds best known today for fragrance and flavor may one day provide the clean, green and renewable fuel with which truck and auto drivers fill their tanks. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have engineered Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria to generate significant quantities of methyl ketone compounds from glucose. In subsequent tests, these methyl ketones yielded high cetane numbers – a diesel fuel rating comparable to the octane number for gasoline – making them strong candidates for the production of advanced biofuels.
Cellulose is the major combustible component of non-food energy crops. Recently ways have been devised to turn it into bioethanol. An important step in a more widespread use of food-friendly biofuels. But as it turns out, besides Brazil and the … Continue reading
On Wednesday the International Energy Agency will release the 2011 edition of the World Energy Outlook. Some energy investment figures from the new IEA report have already been made available though – including a proposed 10 trillion dollar investment in … Continue reading
A bionic bacterium, would that be the bacterial equivalent of the six million dollar man from the equally named 70’s tv show, with enhanced strength, speed and vision? Unfortunately the answer is no. With man-made amino acids in its DNA … Continue reading
When talking about a biobased economy, most people think biofuel. And who can blame them, since gasoline alone is good for about half of global petroleum use? A transition from petroleum to biomass as a source for fuel would put … Continue reading
Good news from Norway. Sustainable biofuel production is perhaps another tiny step closer. Soon we may be able to start burning bugs.