Biofuels may get a boost with new discoveryDecember 28, 2012
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 may be the key to efficient production
Researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is supported by the Department of Energy, have identified an enzyme that could significantly increase the amount of sugar galactan that can be found in the cell walls of plants. Galactan is a 6-carbon sugar that can easily be fermented into ethanol, which is one of the primary biofuels that is used in the U.S. Galactan has been a subject of research for several years because researchers believed it held the key to the efficient production of biofuels.
Advanced biofuels may be possible through galactan
Researchers believe that galactan can be used to produce more than just ethanol. With further study, galactan may also help lead scientists to the development of advanced biofuels that are a more suitable replacement for traditional fossil-fuels. Efficiency is expected to continue being a problem, despite the breakthrough that researchers have made recently. Without an efficient way to produce large amounts of biofuels, fossil-fuels are likely to retain their hold on numerous industries throughout the country, especially in the transportation sector.
US continues pursuit of clean energy
For now, the Department of Energy will continue its research of biofuels, as well as other forms of alternative energy. In early 2012, the federal government adopted and “all of the above” energy plan, which has the country pursuing various forms of energy. This plan has helped support the research and development behind solar, wind, and hydrogen fuel, all of which are becoming more popular energy sources for the country.