As I wrote last month, global biofuels production is nearing 2 million barrels per day – an impressive number that ranks biofuels ahead of Libya among oil producing nations – but most of this consists of conventional biofuels derived from corn starch and sugarcane. While these fuels may meet ground transportation needs, they lack the performance (more…)
How Waste = Food
Imagine if we could create a super-efficient world where there was no waste… Actually, there’s no need to imagine it: nature is already ahead of us on this one.
In nature, almost all “waste” from one organism can be used as “food” or fuel by another organism—a (more…)
It’s a $160 billion a year market you’ve probably never heard of.
Ethylene, the intermediary chemical compound from which popular plastics and many other high value products are derived, has traditionally been made in the petroleum industry via steam cracking, an energy- and carbon-intensive process. It’s the most produced (more…)
What if the ever-increasing amounts of carbon dioxide that are heating up the atmosphere could be used to produce an abundant supply of liquid fuels? The U.S. government and private labs are pursuing that Holy Grail of renewable energy — but for now the cost of large-scale production is prohibitive. (more…)
Biofuels have been dismissed by environmentalists as an unsustainable alternative to fossil fuels. But some hope that second-generation biofuels could offer a better solution to the dirty oil crisis.
Second generation biofuel, or cellulosic biofuel, is made of non-food feedstocks such as straw and (more…)