Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Energy News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



BIO FUEL
Surrounded by potential: New science in converting biomass
by Staff Writers
Ames IA (SPX) Oct 06, 2017


This is a TEM image of Ce-P-Pd elemental map. Image courtesy Igor Slowing.

In every plant--from trees to crops--there exists a substance that makes up its wood or stems, fiber, and cell walls. This substance is a complex natural polymer called lignin, and it is the second largest renewable carbon source on the planet after cellulose.

This natural abundance has drawn high interest from the research community to chemically convert lignin into biofuels. And if plant life really does hold the building blocks for renewable fuels, it would seem that we are literally surrounded by potential energy sources everywhere green grows.

But untangling the complex chains of these polymers into components, which can be useful for liquid fuel and other applications ranging from pharmaceuticals to plastics, has presented an ongoing challenge to science and industry.

There are currently two common ways of processing lignin. One requires an acid plus high heat, and the other is pyrolysis, or treating with high heat in the absence of oxygen. Besides being energy-consuming processing methods, the results are less than optimal.

"You end up with individual molecules that are unstable and reactive, and they easily re-polymerize. It's kind of a horrible mess, really," explains Igor Slowing, an expert in heterogeneous catalysis at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory. "We need to be able to deconstruct lignin in a way that is economically feasible and into stable, readily useful components."

Slowing and other scientists at Ames Laboratory are working to reach that commercialization goal, experimenting with chemical reactions that decompose lignin models at low temperatures and pressures. There are already known ways of salvaging useful byproducts out of lignin through the addition of a stabilization process. But Slowing and his research team took both the decomposition and stabilization processes further, by combining the two into one multi-functional catalyst, using phosphate-modified ceria.

"Our process does the breaking of lignin-like material and the stabilization in a single step in very mild conditions," said Slowing. "The interesting thing is that though there are two different types of chemical processes happening in a single material, they appear to be working synergistically, and are able to do that at a lower temperature."

In another experiment, Slowing's research team was able to process a related material, phenol, into useful industrial precursors for nylon production. This work used a catalyst made of ceria and palladium doped with sodium, which increased the reactivity of the process significantly. They also eliminated the use of hydrogen, which is produced from steam-treatment of natural gas, and used an energy-conserving alcohol-based hydrogenation process instead.

Research continues. "Both of these results were very promising, and our next step is to combine the two experiments into one, and achieve lignin deconstruction using hydrogen from a renewable source," said Slowing.

"Ames Laboratory is ideally situated for this kind of research," said Slowing. "We are able to collaborate with experts in several areas including catalytic chemistry, high throughput experimentation, spectroscopy, technoeconomic analysis; and in partnership with our contractor Iowa State University, we can also select and grow the best feedstocks."

BIO FUEL
Bioreactors on a chip renew promises for algal biofuels
Ithica NY (SPX) Oct 03, 2017
For over a decade, companies have promised a future of renewable fuel from algae. Investors interested in moving the world away from fossil fuel have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to the effort, and with good reason. Algae replicate quickly, requiring little more than water and sunlight to accumulate to massive amounts, which then convert atmospheric CO2 into lipids (oils) that can ... read more

Related Links
Ames Laboratory
Bio Fuel Technology and Application News

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

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

BIO FUEL
Saudi Arabia opens bid for 'utility scale' solar project

DOE should take steps toward facilitating energy development on its public lands

Researchers set time limit for ultrafast perovskite solar cells

'New era' in solar energy fuelling growth in renewables: IEA

BIO FUEL
Oil prices inch lower and move into wait-and-see mode

Exports could add a layer to OPEC, non-OPEC accountability

Western states to roll out EV highway initiative

Iraq to rehab oil in liberated northern province

BIO FUEL
Drought not dingos behind mainland Australia tiger extinction: study

Cost of climate disasters to reach half of US growth in a decade: report

Science denial not limited to political right

Canada Tory MP called out for referring to minister as 'climate Barbie'

BIO FUEL
New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Ultra-fast and ultra-sensitive hydrogen sensor

Superconductivity found in thin films of titanium oxide

Scientists harvest electricity from tears

BIO FUEL
Bioreactors on a chip renew promises for algal biofuels

Algae with light switch

With extra sugar, leaves get fat too

Illinois researchers develop gene circuit design strategy to advance synthetic biology

BIO FUEL
US car sales get boost from hurricane recovery

General Motors targets 20 all-electric models by 2023

Tata wins bid to make electric cars for Indian government

Paris experiments with 'car-free day' across the city

BIO FUEL
Global methane emissions from agriculture possibly much larger

Planet-warming methane from livestock underestimated: study

Global network of botanical gardens contain a third of all known plant species

Bulgarian village goes Chinese in yoghurt craze

BIO FUEL
UV-irradiated amorphous ice behaves like liquid at low temperatures

Teleoperating robots with virtual reality

Surfactants have surprising effect on nanobubble stability

Fast-moving magnetic particles could enable new form of data storage




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: 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 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news 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. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. 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