The beneﬁcial microbes that convert milk into yogurt and act in our guts to promote digestive health cause big problems in ethanol fermentation tanks. These lactic acid bacteria (LAB) proliferate in ethanol feedstock and inhibit growth of ethanol-producing yeast — which slows down fermentation, reduces biofuel yield by as much as 20% per pound of input material, and results in production shutdowns due to contamination. The most common control measures, chemical antimicrobials such as antibiotics, do not eliminate LAB. Additionally, the potential for antibiotic residue limits the marketability of dried distillers grains, a byproduct of the fermentation process used as animal feed. Ecolyse Inc., based in College Station, TX, is working to address this issue by developing products to treat bacterial contamination.
Drop-in biofuels — so named because they can be blended with current fuels in any proportion without modifying existing infrastructure — for the transportation sector have attracted increasing attention. In general, these liquid fuels offer several advantages over first-generation biofuels...
Electronic Skin Lights Up When Touched; Nature-Inspired Windows Cool Themselves Down; First Commercial Production of Cellulosic Biofuel Begins; Water-Splitting Process Produces H2 Isothermally; and more
Increasing energy demand and dwindling energy resources have spurred interest in making transportation fuels from renewable sources such as microalgae.
Al Darzins, Eric P. Knoshaug
The production of algal biofuels involves algae cultivation, biomass harvesting and dewatering, lipid extraction, and conversion to fuel.
Kimberly Ogden, Kuan-Chen Cheng
The individual technical elements of the algae-to-biofuels process have already been demonstrated at the laboratory scale. Ongoing research seeks to refine the technology to enable scaleup to commercial production.
Surveys of the energy-related papers presented at AIChE's annual meetings provide insights into the role of chemical engineers in energy science and engineering.
Mark Holtzapple, Rocio Sierra, Aaron Smith, Cesar Granda and Mark T. Holtzapple
As oil and natural gas prices rise, lignocellulosic biomass becomes a viable feedstock for the fuel and chemical industries— provided key issues are addressed.
Infrastructure, biomass conversion, sources of biomass, and environmental and other impacts are some of the challenges facing the commercialization of biofuels.
David Hogsett, Eduardo Ximenes, Youngmi Kim, Nathan S. Mosier, Michael R. Ladisch
Biochemical and thermochemical process technologies being developed to convert wood and other lignocellulosic feedstocks to liquid fuels will drive the transition from corn-based ethanol to advanced biofuels.
Wendy Higashide, James C. Liao
Engineers are turning to genetic and biological tools and techniques to synthesize higher-chain alcohols that do not suffer from the same limitations as ethanol.
Using nuclear energy to operate refineries and chemical plants would allow more fossil and biomass resources to be converted to fuel and chemical products.
Rising gas prices and climate uncertainty have thrust energy and environmental policy to the forefront of modern American politics.
Mark E. Jones, Keith J. Watson, William F. Banholzer
Considering the range of possibilities and constraints, a major transformation of the chemical industry's current capital structure is unlikely for at least a few decades.
Carrie Atiyeh, Tim Eggeman
The advanced biofuels industry is at a critical stage of development and deployment.
Bertil Stromberg, Thomas Pschorn, J. Brad Cort
Proven commercial-scale equipment already exists for many operations involved in producing biofuels from lignocellulosic feedstocks.
Ethanol, the leading incumbant biofuel, has several limitations.Butanol overcomes many of these, and holds promise as the next important transportation biofuel.
Harvey W. Blanch, Bradley M. Holmes, Seema Singh, Blake A. Simmons
Ionic liquids show promise as lignocellulosic biomass solvents. But is this approach a scientific curiosity or a commercially viable biofuel pretreatment technology?
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