Biofuel : Second Generation Biofuels

Supporters of biofuels claim that a more viable solution is to increase political and industrial support for, and rapidity of, second-generation biofuel implementation from non food crops, including cellulosic biofuels. Second-generation biofuel production processes can use a variety of non food crops. These include waste biomass, the stalks of wheat, corn, wood, and special-energy-or-biomass crops (e.g. Miscanthus). Second generation (2G) biofuels use biomass to liquid technology, including cellulosic biofuels from non food crops. Many second generation biofuels are under development such as biohydrogen, biomethanol, DMF, Bio-DME, Fischer-Tropsch diesel, biohydrogen diesel, mixed alcohols and wood diesel.

Cellulosic ethanol production uses non food crops or inedible waste products and does not divert food away from the animal or human food chain. Lignocellulose is the "woody" structural material of plants. This feedstock is abundant and diverse, and in some cases (like citrus peels or sawdust) it is a significant disposal problem.

Producing ethanol from cellulose is a difficult technical problem to solve. In nature, ruminant livestock (like cattle) eats grass and then use slow enzymatic digestive processes to break it into glucose (sugar). In cellulosic ethanol laboratories, various experimental processes are being developed to do the same thing, and then the sugars released can be fermented to make ethanol fuel. In 2009 scientists reported developing, using "synthetic biology", "15 new highly stable fungal enzyme catalysts that efficiently break down cellulose into sugars at high temperatures", adding to the 10 previously known. In addition, research conducted at TU Delft by Jack Pronk has shown that elephant yeast, when slightly modified can also create ethanol from non-edible ground sources (eg straw).

The recent discovery of the fungus Gliocladium roseum points toward the production of so-called myco-diesel from cellulose. This organism was recently discovered in the rainforests of northern Patagonia and has the unique capability of converting cellulose into medium length hydrocarbons typically found in diesel fuel.

Scientists also work on experimental recombinant DNA genetic engineering organisms that could increase biofuel potential.

Related post :

  1. Biofuel : Third Generation Biofuels
  2. Biofuel : First Generation Biofuels
  3. Biofuel
  4. Making Biodiesel From Waste Vegetable Oil

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