Breakthrough Made For One-Step Biofuel

switchgrass biofuelDirect conversion of switchgrass into ethanol normally requires expensive treatment with enzymes. In this process, the enzymes in the pre-treatment break down the cellulose fibers into fermentable material. However, researchers from the Georgia University in Athens have discovered a microbe called Caldicellulosiruptor bescii that is capable of converting biomass cellulose into sugars as well as sugars into ethanol for fuel purposes.

The process is quite similar to how microbes transform barley into beer and grapes into wine. Ethanol can now be easily produced by grinding the switchgrass with the addition of minimal salts. The process is not only economically feasible but also relatively easy to produce.

To date, experiments by the researchers have demonstrated that Caldicellulosiruptor bescii can convert switchgrass to products that consists of 70% ethanol. This breakthrough has enabled the researchers to produce other fuels such as isobutanol and butanol using the same method.

Europe In Need Of A Biofuels Strategy

bio bus in EuropeThe European market for biofuels is one that is rife with all sorts of problems. There are competing studies that show it to be good, or bad. There are the stances of all the different nations about how much biofuel should be produced, or if it should be produced at all. Meanwhile, there are some countries that want to be energy-independent, but they do not have the resources to do so.

Addressing the fuel and energy problems in Europe is not a place to have political discussions about how biofuels impact someone’s economic or political position. The best thing for Europe to do is to pick a strategy and stick to it. Without this type of strategy, most people will find that they have no options for alternative or biofuels because the European community is too busy haggling over them rather than doing something about them.

Audi Partners To Produce Biofuels

eDieselAudi has partnered with Global Bioenergies to begin producing eDiesel and eEthanol products that will be used for new fleets of cars that Audi plans to produce.  While Audi is not the first company to make cars that take biofuels, they are the first company that has entered into a partnership to see how ready biofuels can be for their cars.

Audi already has a plant running that is producing biofuels and sending energy that is harvests back into the power grid.  However, this technology can help the carmaker to produce a fleet that is completely carbon-neutral.  Ultimately, that is their goal, and this partnership would seem to help Audi put more biofuel on the marketplace that would make it easier to fuel their own fleets.

With Audi on the cutting edge of biofuel research, it would be no surprise to see many of their vehicles go carbon neutral in the years to come.

Biochemtex to Invest in Biofuels Facility

Biofuel energy plantBiochemtex will invest about $200 million in its biofuels plant in North Carolina. The company provides renewable chemicals and biofuels throughout the world.

The name of the company, which uses crops that were grown locally, will be Carolina Cellulosic Biofuels. The company will use energy crops, such as woody biomass and agricultural residues, to produce about 20 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel. It will be North America’s first cellulosic biofuel biorefinery on a commercial scale, and it was started in early 2013.

The company is already working with local farmers and farms to receive energy crops. A spokesman believes the business will increase, and there will be more projects where local infrastructure makes that possible.

The One Carolina Fund gave a $300,000 grant based on performance that enabled the project to begin. The fund uses local government agencies to give money to increase local business activity and increase employment. Companies do not have to provide any money of their own first, but they must meet standards that jobs will be performed, as well as investment standards.

Experts Predict Bright Future For Renewable Energy And Natural Gas In Texas

stock0019A new study is predicting that natural gas and renewable energy will be the main sources of electricity in Texas within the next 20 years. The prediction was made by a group of economists from The Brattle Group. The study was commissioned by the Texas Clean Energy Coalition who is a strong advocate of the complementing natural gas and renewable energy.

The prediction was based largely on the expectation that solar energy would experience a further decline in cost in within the next two decades. The high price of gas as well as the continuous increase of the commodity also influenced the prediction.

At present, renewable energy and natural gas account for 13 percent of electricity for the state. However, if the Federal Government decided to introduce more stringent policies on carbon emission, coal plants would be eliminated as a result. That move could increase the percentage of electricity generated by natural gas and renewables to 43% by 2032.


Research on Converting Miscanthus X Gigantheus to Cellolusic Ethanol

SwitchgrassAccording to a report published in the Global Change Biology Journal, researchers have found that Miscanthus x giganteus yield far more energy than switchgrass. Miscanthus x giganthus is used in bioenergy production, while the switch grass is used as bioenergy feedstock. The results were based on a field trial conducted over the course of 10 years where both plants were grown in seven locations across Illinois side by side. During the course of the field trials, the switch grass yielded 4.5 tons per acre compared to 10.5 tonnes yielded by the Miscanthus x giganteus.

Miscanthus is used by many growers in a pelleted form as a renewable, carbon neutral energy source. However, although the demand for pelleted Miscanthus is growing, the long term goal is to process the cellulose in the biomass to sugars, so that it can be used in the fermentation of ethanol and other fuels. Based on calculations by the researchers, 17 million acres of land area would be needed to produce 60 billion liters of cellulosic ethanol.


Cool Planet and Bioenergy Alliance Network Received USDA Funding

BeetlesWood has been infested by beetles in nearly 42 million acres of U.S. forest since the year 1996, and this is having a profound effect on the forest’s condition.  Cool Planet and Bioenergy Alliance Network will be receiving $10,000,000 to create more sustainable biofuels from wood that has been nearly destroyed by beetles.

While the foundation works to bring the bark beetles to a halt, they are also doing innovative research that will include them creating renewable energy and contributing to a cleaner future for America. The research foundation has expressed their gratitude for the contributions and donations, saying that they are happy the world can see what use this project will bring to the environment and to bio fuel. By the end of 2013, the foundation should be getting into the depths of their project and begin making changes in USA’s ecosystem.

Aviation Industry And Biofuels

AirplaneThe aviation industry is soon to be less dependent on conventional fossil fuels following an announcement by SCS Global services that two companies have received certification to utilize biofuel based technologies. The two companies that were issued the certification are PGF Biofuels and Beijing Shougang LanzaTech New Energy Science and Technology Co. Ltd. The certifications were issued based on standards set by the Round table of Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB).

PGF Biofuels is a Canadian based company and received the certification to produce an oilseed crop called Brassica Carinata. This crop has a high profile for use in the bio-jet industry and is a much cleaner and lower carbon fuel. Beijing Shougang LanzaTech New Energy Science and Technology Co. Ltd. received sustainability certification to convert waste steel mill gases to sustainable bio-fuels.

SCS Global services is accredited by the Roundtable of Sustainable Biomaterials and is a leader in providing sustainability certification, testing, auditing and standards development.