Category Archives: Biofuel

The challenges to biofuel expansion

9By Elton Alisson

Agência FAPESP – Recent resolutions by several countries, including the United States, to increase utilization of renewable fuels through 2021 – in addition to the general need to increase energy production and distribution worldwide – should boost global expansion of the biofuels industry in the coming years.

However, the sector must overcome myriad challenges to meet the greater global demand for bioenergy. These challenges include increasing cultivation of the agricultural crops that are utilized to generate biofuels without affecting food production; adapting to the impact of global climate change in agriculture; and competing on unequal footing with fossil fuels, which are strongly subsidized by innumerous countries, including Brazil… >>Continue Reading<<

Source and Photo: FAPESP, January 22nd, 2014
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The success of sugarcane is the fruit of pioneering science and technology, study concludes

canaBy Elton Alisson

Agência FAPESP – Brazil is recognized as the country with the world’s most efficient biofuel production, which is principally based on sugarcane. The success that the country has enjoyed in transforming this plant into a bioenergy source, however, is due more to a pioneering initiative to create an industrial system for ethanol production than the plant itself.

The system began to be developed in the 1930s when an agronomic development program that made the plant highly efficient was established. Despite these efforts, the agronomic performance of sugarcane is still below that of the other raw materials tested for this purpose over the last few years in different parts of world.

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Brazil world leader in sugarcane and ethanol knowledge and technology

 
Mini 018FAPESP - Brazil is the largest producer of ethanol from sugarcane in the world and occupies the leadership in technology for its production. The advances in technology have meant that its productivity is outstanding and the costs of production much lower than those of its international competitors. This leadership is due to the long work of many years undertaken by researchers in institutions of higher education and research and in private enterprises, which has resulted in a valuable baggage of knowledge and technology on sugarcane and its derivatives and on the process of ethanol manufacture.
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First Look at Sorghum Genome May Find New Food, Fuel Uses

23The Crop Site - Patrick Brown, an assistant professor in plant breeding and genetics, said having a complete characterization of the locations (loci) affecting specific traits will speed up the adaptation of sorghum and other related grasses to new production systems for both food and fuel.

Brown is working on the project through the Energy Biosciences Institute at the U of I, hoping to use the sorghum findings as a launching pad for working with complex genomes of other feedstocks. The EBI provided the startup funding for the study.

To adapt the drought-resistant, tropical sorghum to temperate climates, Brown explained that sorghum lines were converted over the years by selecting and crossing exotic lines with temperate-adapted lines to create lines that were photoperiod-insensitive for early maturity, as well as shorter plants that could be machine-harvested. >>Continue Reading<<

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KAIST team produces gasoline using E. coli

25The Korea Herald – A group of scientists from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology has discovered a way to produce gasoline using bacteria for the first time, the school announced.

The finding, published online in the journal Nature on Sunday, could mark a step toward developing new renewable energy.

The research team led by Lee Sang-yup, a professor at the chemical and biomolecular engineering department, used Escherichia coli bacteria that naturally turn sugars into fat to convert fatty acid into oil..>>Continue Reading<<

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Brazilian group maps algal diversity in the state of São Paulo

24By Karina Toledo

Agência FAPESP – With the help of molecular techniques such as gene sequencing and DNA barcoding, scientists at the University of São Paulo (USP) are completing the most complete survey conducted to date regarding the biodiversity of red macroalgae in the state of São Paulo.

The study is being conducted under the scope of a Thematic Project led by Mariana Cabral de Oliveira of the USP Biosciences Institute.

Some of the findings were presented September 26 during FAPESP Week London. The event was held by FAPESP with support from the British Council and the Royal Society.

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Sweet hydrogen: how sugar could help satisfy the world’s energy needs

SugarThe Guardian – Hydrogen makes an extraordinarily efficient and clean fuel. Three times as energy-efficient as petrol, Nasa used it to power its space shuttles. It can be used to generate electricity and only produces water as a byproduct.

And yet, scientists are struggling to scale up hydrogen production. Ironically, given hydrogen’s green potential, the cheapest and most viable sources are hydrocarbon-based compounds such as natural gas. But liberating hydrogen from fossil fuels creates carbon emissions that outweigh any environmental advantages.

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