• Category Archives: Biofuels

    Whiskey by-products used to make butanol, a biofuel for cars

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    Drinking and driving certainly isn’t encouraged, though a bit of alcohol in your car’s fuel tank seems just ideal. Well, at least that’s what the guys at Edinburgh Napier University’s Biofuel Research Center think. Researchers have come up with butanol biofuel from whiskey by-products. And if you just love your scotch on the rocks and worry that too much whiskey will be wasted for cars, you really need to think again! The researches haven’t actually been pouring bottles of whiskey into fuel tanks. What they’ve been doing instead, is using by-products of whiskey, including pot ale, a fluid coming from distillery equipment, left over grains, and is made in a process that the World Wars used to make explosives.

    Posted in Biofuels on August 19, 2010
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    Method developed to make diesel from solar energy, water and CO2

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    Though biofuels are an acceptable alternative to conventional fossil fuels, their production is not commercialized on a large scale due to various problems associated with them such as disposal of the waste generated. Joule Biotechnologies has invented a new concept in making biofuels which provides all the benefits of biofuels without their problems. This method uses “solar walls” which capture photons from the light and provide them to the proprietary micro organisms. These micro organisms are specially modified by the company so that they use the energy available from photosynthesis to make fuels rather than growing themselves. This method uses a technique called ‘helioculture’ which integrates the photons with available CO2 and water. And that’s not all, this technique can even use impure water and it does not generate any waste.

    Posted in Biofuels on March 8, 2010
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    An organic breakdown of waste in your kitchen by Faltazi

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    The kitchen is where most household wastes are produced. These need to be disposed smartly and in a proper way. Designers Victor Massip and Laurent Lebot of Faltazi have designed a conceptual system where water is recycled and waste is broken down by worms inside the kitchen itself.

    Posted in Biofuels on January 28, 2010
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    The LooWatt toilet transforms poo to energy

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    Virginia Gardine has taking poo to the next level, literally! She is the woman behind the innovative design of LooWatt, a toilet that converts excreta to energy. To begin with, LooWatt is made of 90% horse dung and features a biodegradable lining that stores excrement in a sealed, odor-free container. Once full, the container has to be emptied in an outdoor biodigestor, which in exchange provides a free source of biofuel for cooking. This low-cost mechanical eco commode encourages people to trade in their waste for biofuel and who would have thought excreta could do that! This design may be useful in many developing countries where installation of sewage systems is impossible, and improper waste disposal spreads many devastating waterborne diseases.

    Posted in Biofuels on June 26, 2009
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    SOLAQUA to provide clean, uncontaminated water for Sub- Saharan Africa

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    Africa is a place with lots of sun and also lots of need for some clean and good water. So adding one and one together, a company launched the SOLAQUA which is a useful device. It is going to be used as a water disinfection unit in the rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. This device will obtain infra-red and ultra-violet rays from the sun and will utilize them to eliminate pathogens of contaminated water.

    Posted in Alternative Energy, Awareness and Hype, Biofuels on May 16, 2009
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    Carbon dioxide can now be turned into biofuels

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    Singaporean researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology have devised a way to convert carbon dioxide into clean-burning biofuel methanol, using a safe, non-toxic process. This breakthrough scientific discovery was printed in the chemistry journal, Angewandte Chemie. Scientists have been able to make carbon dioxide react with a stable organocatalyst called N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) under mild conditions in dry air. A dash of silica and a touch of hydrogen are added in, where the entire mixture is subjected to hydrolysis to produce the methanol. More addition to the good news is that NHC is available in abundance. So have humans finally found an answer to Global Warming?

    Posted in Alternative Energy, Awareness and Hype, Biofuels on April 22, 2009
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    Sony introduces direct methanol fuel cell battery

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    Sony Japan has been busy producing eco-friendly products and the latest eye-catching one is a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) battery. This was displayed at the International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Expo in Tokyo last month. The battery is used for charging small electronic devices like mobile phones or digital music players and cameras with two USB ports for charging. The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Dangerous Goods Panel (DGP) has also voted to allow passengers to carry and use micro fuel cells and methanol fuel cartridges on board flights to power small electronic devices. This was considered, as methanol is a toxic and flammable gas.

    Posted in Alternative Energy, Biofuels on March 14, 2009
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    Purified water derived from hydrogen fuel cells to be sold in India

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    In India, a petroleum firm is all geared up to serve purified water at the company’s gas stations. A green twist to this simple venture is that the water sold will actually be a byproduct of hydrogen fuel cells. Based in Mumbai, Bharat Petroleum has come up with this innovative plan to make ‘green’ purified water available to almost every corner of the country. It is estimated that for every 1,000 MW of energy, about 1 million metric tons of clean water will flow out. Now that’s some thirst-quenching information as studies state that about 1,600 Indians die every day as a result of water-borne diseases.

    Posted in Biofuels on November 3, 2008
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    Formula Zero Fuel cell race finishes with Dutch victory

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    Rotterdam has now finished hosting the world’s first international championship for fuel cell powered racers from August 22 – 23. This new zero-emission race was open for all fuel cell single seaters. The competition had just one rule zero emissions, presently Formula One cars gain speed to over 200 miles per hour, whereas Formula Zero cars at the moment, reach just over 30 miles per hour. Each team’s entry was powered by a commercial fuel cell that produces electricity from hydrogen.

    Posted in Biofuels on September 3, 2008
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    Grow Diesel in your backyard

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    The rage in biofuels is set to get heated up even more, a University of Northern Colorado researcher has received the go ahead to study the tropical copaiba tree’s (which is also known as the diesel tree) oil producing seeds in order to understand if theses genes can be put into other plants or trees. The idea isn’t a new one since we all know that ethanol is grown and now used on a small scale as an alternative fuel. The difference with this idea is to get more trees or even grass to produce oleoresin, the use of oleoresin as a substitute for diesel isn’t new. I wonder if diesel is such an environmentally friendly solution. After all it is the reason cities smog levels are on the rise.

    Posted in Biofuels on August 7, 2008
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