Flowers Can Produce Bioethanol

Surplus biomass from the production of flax shives, and generated from Brassica carinata, a yellow-flowered plant related to those which engulf fields in spring, can be used to produce bioethanol. This has been suggested by two studies carried out by Spanish and Dutch researchers and published in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

These studies evaluate, from an environmental point of view, the production of bioethanol from two, as yet unexploited sources of biomass: agricultural residue from flax (for the production of paper fibres for animal bedding), and Brassica carinata crops (herbaceous plant with yellow flowers, similar to those which carpet the countryside in spring),” Sara González-García, researcher of the Bioprocesses and Environmental Engineering Group of the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC),  said.

González-García, along with other researchers from USC, the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the University of Leiden (Holland), has confirmed that if bioethanol is produced from these two types of biomass “both CO2 emissions and fossil fuel consumption will be reduced, meeting two of the objectives established by the European Union to promote biofuels.”

These works have analysed the environmental load associated with the different stages of the process: the harvesting of flax or Brassica; the production of ethanol (through enzymatic hydrolysis followed by fermentation and distillation); mixing it with petrol (in varying proportions); and its use in passenger automobiles.

The results of both studies show that the use of ethanol-based fuels can help to mitigate climate change (by reducing greenhouse gases).

However, these fuels also “contribute to acidification, eutrophication, the formation of photochemical oxidants and toxicity (for people and the environment).” According to the experts, these negative effects could be lessened with the use of high-yield crops, as well as through optimisation of agricultural activity and better use of fertilisers.

Which is better: Flax or Brassica?

The studies developed by the researchers reveal that flax (which is richer in cellulose) can produce up to 0.3 kg of ethanol for every kg of dry biomass, compared with 0.25kg/kg of Brassica. However, when the whole production cycle is analysed, the yellow-flowered plant offers a greater production of biomass per hectare and has a lesser environmental impact.

The biofuel produced from these two plants is “second generation bioethanol,” which is obtained from forest or agricultural residues, or from herbaceous crops, and does not enter into direct competition with agricultural crops intended for animal or human consumption.

The European Union and the International Monetary Fund are promoting the development of these types of biofuels. Spain is the third largest producer of bioethanol in Europe, after France and Germany, although its use still only represents 0.4% of total energy consumption.

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NHA Hydrogen Conference & Expo will feature new products!

Did you know about the NHA?

The NHA is the  Hydrogen Conference and Expo is the largest hydrogen conference in the U.S. and one of the hydrogen conference in the world.

This year will be your best opportunity of the year to learn about breakthroughs, progress on commercialization challenges and network over a few days with the brightest minds and business leaders in the industry and of course see something new like zero emission cars, forklift vehicles, new cell power units, hydrogen production technology and everything related with green energy.

This Expo take place may 3-6 , 2010 in Long Beach, California.

Some topics will be:

  • Results from the First Field Test of a Microbial Electrolysis Cell for Renewable Hydrogen Production
  • Analysis of DOD’s Fuel Cell Forklift Demonstration Project
  • Environmentally Friendly HYDROGEN Refueling Station for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
  • HyTEC: Teaching High School Students and Teachers about Hydrogen and Fuel Cells       (that would be amazing! The new generation must be aware with the new energy for the future, huh?)

If you are interested , make a click http://www.hydrogenconference.org/index.asp


Biodiesel from turkey company Changing World Technologies files IPO

It seems that changing world technologies have finally solved the offal odor pullution problem at their turkey byproducts to biodiesel plant and are ready to begin bigger and better things. The company, which uses a thermal conversion process (TCP) to break down waste into fuel and organic fertilizer, wants to raise $100 million to fund an expansion and has filed an S1 FORM with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to begin the process. The allocation and price of shares in the IPO will be decided by an auction process handled by the offering underwriter, WR Hambrecht & Co, as well as other securities dealers. The company currently produces between 4 to 9 million gallons of biodiesel a year and could reach 54 million gallons a year with the expansion. Although it is currently selling its fuel to industrial boilers, it has been approved by the EPA for use a an additive in diesel. It will have to be improved somewhat to be considered for full use as a transportation fuel.