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