Scientists identify plant enzyme that could lead to mass-production of biofuels

Researchers may have found an enzyme that could enable any plant to product fuel. In their quest to find the next best environmentally friendly fuel, a team of international researchers have announced that they have successfully isolated an enzyme with lycopaoctaene synthase activity in common algae known as Botryococcus braunii. This enzyme is responsible for hydrocarbon oil production and the scientists are investigating how to use the enzyme to mass-produce biofuels. This discovery could be a breakthrough for the alternative fuel industry. Although not as clean as other forms of…

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U.S. scientists may have found new technique to lower biofuel cost

Decreasing plant lignin could help make green fuel cheaper. Biofuel could become cheaper as scientists have shown for the first time that it is possible to lower lignin in plants by tweaking an enzyme; a discovery which could be highly beneficial to the bioenergy industry. The technique discovered by the scientists from the United States Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), could help reduce the cost required to convert biomass into carbon-neutral fuels used to power cars and other sustainably develop bio-products, reported Phys.org. The technique lowers…

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New biofuel project may convert forestry waste into aviation biofuel

A consortium of aviation companies and scientists are investigating whether forest-industry waste could fuel jet planes. A project that will be led by the University of British Columbia (UBC) and NORAM Engineering and Constructors, and includes aviation and aviation-related companies Boeing, Air Canada, Bombardier, WestJet and SkyNRG, will assess whether waste from the forest industry, including sawdust and leftover branches, can be converted into sustainable aviation biofuel. A study determined that the forestry waste to energy conversion could meet 10% of B.C.’s annual jet fuel demand. Earlier this year, a…

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Biofuel may be produced from roadside weed

Researchers from Nevada think they may be able to produce diesel fuel from gumweed. Nevada scientists believe that curlycup gumweed, a common roadside weed that grows across much of Nevada’s high desert, may be ideal for producing biofuel. More specifically, the researchers think that they are close to producing diesel fuel and may even one day be able to produce jet fuel from the plant, reported the Associated Press. Very little water is needed to grow gumweed. Back in the 1980’s, a University of Nevada researcher and mining engineer, Darrell…

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Grants awarded to switchgrass biofuel research project

Scientists to study plant’s effectiveness as an alternative energy source. A professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin, Tom Juenger, will receive two grants totaling to $15 million to study a native prairie grass known as switchgrass, to determine how it can be used as an alternative source of energy. More specifically, the study will focus on biofuel research. It is believed that switchgrass can become a sustainable source of bioenergy. According to the University of Texas at Austin’s UT News, Juenger will lead a team…

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Waste from winemaking could make cheap biofuel

Leftover solid grape waste from winemaking could be used to produce competitive alternative fuel. Researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia, are investigating the potential of transforming waste that is left over from the winemaking industry into biofuel. The researchers showed that as much as 400 liters of bioethanol could be generated by fermentation of a ton of the solid grape waste annually, which would be beneficial on many levels, including to wineries in Australia, which currently must pay for the disposal of an estimated several hundred thousand tons of…

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New research may improve production of biofuels

Scientists have discovered a way to boost the production of fuels and other renewable chemicals. According to news from Berkley Lab, researchers with the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) have discovered a way to use biomass fermented by yeast to enhance the production of biofuels and renewable chemicals, without having to rely on costly enzyme cocktails or pre-treatments that are hard on the environment. The researchers believe that they can engineer biofuel-producing yeast. The researches with EBI, which is a partnership between Berkeley Lab and the University of California Berkeley, made…

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ExxonMobil warms up to renewable energy

Exxon - Renewable Energy

Oil company showing more support for renewable energy ExxonMobil is one of the titans of the oil industry, but that does not mean that the company has not been showing a strong interest in renewable energy. Over the past several years, the company has done much to draw attention away from the issue of climate change, hoping to keep the world’s focus strictly on fossil-fuels. These efforts had proven fruitful in the past, but renewable energy is quickly becoming less of an environmental issue and more of an economic issue.…

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Biofuels may get a boost with new discovery

Hydrogen Fuel Research

US researchers find a way to boost production of biofuels As the U.S. begins to focus more heavily on alternative energy, the government has set its sights on biofuels. These clean fuels can be used to replace traditional petroleum in numerous ways. Biofuels have been criticized over the years because of the production process, which can, at times, be inefficient. The Department of Energy has made a significant breakthrough in its research concerning biofuels which may mean a major boost to production and the efficiency of the fuel overall. Galactan…

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Department of Defense biofuels initiative could have serious benefits

Renewable Energy Costs to Drop

Department of Defense eyes economic potential of biofuels The U.S. Department of Defense has emerged as one of the strongest supporters for alternative energy in the world. As the largest consumer of oil, the agency has classified energy as a matter of national security as political tensions in the Middle East grow. The agency is keen to help the country become independent of foreign sources of oil and believes that alternative energy holds the most promise in this endeavor. The Department of Defense has been making major progress in the…

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New biofuel production method could make process more affordable

Solar Energy Market - Research

Microbiologist discovers a way to streamline biofuel production Biofuel is becoming more popular around the world, especially in countries eager to break their reliance on fossil-fuels. Biofuel production can be a costly endeavor, however, and the expensive nature of the process has kept the fuel out of the reach of many. Not only in the biofuel production process expensive, it also requires a significant amount of fossil-fuel-generated power to deliver results, making biofuel a less clean form of energy than it is intended to be. A microbiologist from the Missouri…

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Isobutanol produced by tweaking common bacterium

Isobutanol - Image from Wikipedia

MIT researchers create biofuel using Ralstonia eutropha Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been experimenting with a bacterium known as Ralstonia eutropha, which is commonly found in soil. It is known that the bacterium has a tendency to produce massive amounts of carbon compounds when it is stressed. This tendency has led scientists to believe that the bacterium may be able to produce usable fuel. Researchers have manipulated the bacterium to produce a kind of alcohol known as isobutanol, which can replace or be combined with traditional…

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U.S. and India partner to research biofuel

Biofuel research

Biofuel research and development to take place in India The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that the University of Florida will be working with the Indian government on a new alternative energy project concerning biofuel. The initiative aims to research the uses of biofuel and develop a biofuel production system from non-food crops. The project will span a five-year period and is receiving $125 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. The project will also examine the use and development of solar energy. This particular aspect of…

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World’s first electrified snail generates electricity with a biofuel cell

biofuel-snail

Scientists from the Clarkson University in New York have created the world’s first electrified snail. The snail’s shell is equipped with a small biofuel cell that produces electricity. The snail is the latest addition in living organisms sporting their own energy systems. The science community has been interested in how energy systems can be integrated into living organisms for some time. Last year, a cockroach fitted with its own hydrogen fuel cell made its debut and was to be used as a new kind of spy device. Researchers implanted a…

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NASA develops new biofuel energy system using algae and plastic bags

algae-biofuel-alternative-energy

NASA’s new interest in alternative energy research gives way to new options with algae biofuel. NASA may no longer be conducting ambitious missions in the field of space exploration, but that does not mean the agency is resting on its laurels. The agency has taken an interest in alternative energy and has recently been experimenting with hydrogen, solar and wind power. NASA has also found an interest in biofuels and their production. This week, the agency unveiled a new system that is capable of growing massive amounts of algae. These…

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Department of Energy modifies e. coli bacteria to produce biofuel

e. coli bacteria biofuel

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy have begun experimenting with an infamous strain of bacteria that has, thus far, shown prowess in producing biofuel. Researchers are using e. coli bacteria to make renewable energy by having the bacteria feed upon switchgrass. Normally, e. coli cannot grow on switchgrass, so researchers had to modify a particular strain of the bacterium to help it thrive on the grass. In this way, the e. coli feed on the switchgrass and produce a chemical that can be used as a fuel for just…

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