March 2015 CEP Preview

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This month CEP features a look at lignocellulosic biofuels, from various production processes to what's needed to scale up bioenergy operations.

Is There a "Magic" Biomass Crop?

. by Martin Bergstedt

Dr. Shijie Liu of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry presented a thoughtful overview of the biofuels evaluation protocol that was assembled and applied in The Manomet Report for the State of Massachusetts.

Solar Cell Efficiency Record Broken with New "Tandem" Cell

. by ChEnected Guest

The inefficiencies of previous generation solar cells are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. In collaboration with the UCLA California NanoSystems Institute and Sumitomo Chemical of Japan, researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have created a “tandem” solar cell that increases efficiency to a certified 10.6% by capturing energy in multiple spectra.

Cellular-Based Systems for Producing Alcohol

. by ChEnected Guest

The current method for producing alcohol biofuels, in particular butanol, is through metabolic cellular processes. Clostridia species are used to produce butanol, but they are not very suitable because they are complex and not well understood. Biological pathways have also been developed for strains of Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae; both of these microbes have better genetic tools available.

The Search for Environmentally Friendly Energy: Ethanol vs. Butanol

. by ChEnected Guest

The growing demand for carbon-neutral energy sources has fueled the search for biologically derived products. While the predominant liquid fuel is gasoline, the search is on for biofuel alternatives, but many pose considerable challenges. Currently ethanol is the most widely used biologically generated fuel. Ethanol, however, is difficult to transport in pipelines and also contains just 70% of the energy content of gasoline.

Advances in Algal Biorefineries II [On Location]

. by Robert Szczesniak

Algae and plant oils have shown great promise towards answering the energy density question, but I am reminded of a 3-step business plan that I encountered in school: Step 1 – Collect algae, Step 3 – Profit. The presenters in this session are concerned with that mysterious Step 2.

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