. Energy News .

Scientists find way to identify manmade biofuels in atmosphere
by Staff Writers
Miami FL (SPX) Aug 08, 2011

illustration only

Scientists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science have discovered a technique to track urban atmospheric plumes thanks to a unique isotopic signature found in vehicle emissions.

Brian Giebel, a Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry graduate student working with Drs. Daniel Riemer and Peter Swart discovered that ethanol mixed in vehicle fuel is not completely burned, and that ethanol released in the engine's exhaust has a higher 13C to 12C ratio when compared to natural emissions from most living plants.

In other words, the corn and sugarcane used to make biofuels impart a unique chemical signature that is related to the way these plants photosynthesize their nutrients.

The team suggests that ethanol's unique chemical signature can be used during aircraft sampling campaigns to identify and track plumes as they drift away from urban areas.

The results of their efforts, titled "New Insights to the Use of Ethanol in Automotive Fuels: A Stable Isotopic Tracer for Fossil- and Bio-Fuel Combustion Inputs to the Atmosphere" appears in the journal, Environmental Science and Technology.

Giebel collected and analyzed air from downtown Miami and the Everglades National Park and found that 75% of ethanol in Miami's urban air came from manmade biofuels, while the majority of ethanol in the Everglades air was emitted from plants, even though a small quantity of city pollution from a nearby road floats into the park.

Air samples from the two locations were subjected to a precise scientific process, first separating the elements using gas chromatography, and then burning each component.

The resulting carbon dioxide was put through a mass spectrometer, where the researchers were able to measure the abundance of each carbon isotope.

"According to global emissions estimates, plants release three times as much ethanol as manmade sources," said Giebel.

"However, if the amount of ethanol used in our fuel continues to increase, vehicle emissions should eventually exceed natural emissions.

"This is particularly critical in urban areas because the majority of ethanol in the atmosphere is converted to acetaldehyde, which is highly reactive and considered to be a toxin detrimental to human health."

Related Links
Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Bio Fuel Technology and Application News

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Ethanol could be risk in U.S. pipelines
Washington (UPI) Aug 3, 2011
Plans to use existing U.S. pipelines to carry increasing ethanol production poses the problem the fuel can dramatically degrade them, researchers say. Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology warn that ethanol, and especially the bacteria sometimes found in it, can worsen fatigue crack growth rates by 25 times the rate in air alone. Researchers evaluated f ... read more

Solar use in Sydney soars

Solar cells get a boost from bouncing light

S. Korean firm joins Chinese solar project

ReneSola Rolls Out Shipments of Its New Multicrystalline Virtus Wafer and Module Lines

Scotland offshore wind farm ready to go

US fund Blackstone plans two big German wind farms

European wind power output tipped to treble by 2020: report

Estonian wind farm taps GE for turbines

Sudan grants China oil exploration licence

UN oil devastation report to be taken 'seriously': Shell

Fusion diagnostic developed at PPPL sheds light on plasma behavior at EAST

Vietnam slams China sea survey in disputed area

Iraq power plans short-circuit

Boeing And Siemens Form Strategic Alliance for DOD Energy Modernization

Iraq PM moves to fire minister over power deals

Japan's power supply dilemma

University of Virginia researchers uncover new catalysis site

AviCoS replaces vehicle owner manuals

Honda to recall over 2m vehicles in US, China

Japan quake helps GM profits soar in Q2

Japan rice futures soar on nuclear fears

Scientists Study Effects of Rising Carbon Dioxide on Rangelands

Mushroom poisoning adds to rainy French summer woes

China arrests 2,000 in food safety crackdown

Taiwan unveils eco-friendly rewritable 'paper'

Watermark ink device identifies unknown liquids instantly

Editions, AOL's entrant in iPad news reader race

Penn Chemists Make First Molecular Binding Measurement of Radon

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement