Daily Archives: February 28, 2012

Algae: Biofuel’s new ally

By Gilberto Silber Schmidt

Labex Korea – Article published in Science Magazine (January, 19th, 2012) reports that researchers at Bio Architecture Lab (BAL), of Berkeley, United States, modified genetically the Escherichia coli bacteria to extract sugar from brown seaweeds. The major obstacle to the achievement of these algae biofuels is that bacteria do not metabolize the immediate alginate component of algae rich in sugars. The researchers’ strategy was to clone an enzyme that degrade and metabolize this substance. E. coli – bacteria found in human digestive system and in some mammals – GM could not only process the alginate but also ferment it to produce ethanol. The sugar concentrated of the algae provides a significant amount of biomass that favors their use commercially. Another bright spot: the algae are cultivated at sea and not compete space with areas of food crops.

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Biorefinery of the future

Revista FAPESP – The ethanol production future seems to be more promising that all the predictions made so far. According to a study by researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP), will be possible to fill in 2030 the entire fleet of vehicles in the world with ethanol and electricity produced in plants cane sugar.

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Energy and Waste Forests: Bio-oil and biochar

Embrapa Agroenergy – Using a eucalyptus wood in fast pyrolysis process, the Embrapa Agroenergy (Brasilia, Brazil), produced a bio-oil that can also be made from almost all types of organic materials.

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