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Nanotechnology used in biofuel processing

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by Staff Writers
Ruston, La. (UPI) Oct 12, 2009
U.S. scientists say they are using nanotechnology to improve the cellulosic ethanol processes involved in producing biofuels.

Louisiana Tech Professors James Palmer, Yuri Lvov, Dale Snow and Hisham Hegab say biofuels will play an important part in sustainable fuel and energy production solutions for the future. But the professors say the nation's appetite for fuel cannot be satisfied with just traditional crops, such as sugar cane or corn. But they note emerging technologies are allowing cellulosic biomass (wood, grass, stalks, etc.) to also be converted into ethanol.

The researchers said the nanotechnology processes they developed can immobilize the expensive enzymes used to convert cellulose to sugars, allowing them to be reused several times, significantly reducing the overall cost of the process.

Savings estimates range from approximately $32 million for each cellulosic ethanol plant to a total of $7.5 billion if a federally established goal of 16 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol is achieved.

The technology is to be highlighted Nov. 5 during Louisiana Tech's Energy Systems Conference in Shreveport, La.

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Indiana Corn Acres Decrease As Ethanol Production Increases
Indianapolis IN (SPX) Oct 09, 2009
For the last five years, Madison County farmer Mike Shuter has maintained the same crop rotation on his farm of two-thirds of his fields in corn and one-third in soybeans. He hasn't seen the need to increase his corn acres even with the evolution of the biofuels industry and its need for corn. This seems to be the trend across the state. Indiana farmers planted 5.7 million acres of corn in ... read more

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