Category Archives: By-Products

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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Seven billion people and biofuels production

0000002639-Agroenergia_baixaEmbrapa Agroenergy – Seven billion inhabitants. This figure marked the year 2011. The life of every human being, like mine or yours, counts as one in this figure. With this number of people on the Planet come to the fore fundamental questions about power, energy supply and sustainability. Thus, the debate over “food production versus energy generation” remains a topic that deserves attention of society and professionals working in research and development of biofuels. For discussion of this issue, the first question to be considered is the fact that the extensive productions of foods require the use of large energy, mainly as a fertilizer and fuel. Nowadays, the fuel is needed to move tractors, combines, trucks, water pumps, and other machinery. Fertilizers are needed to replace the soil nutrients for the plants. The use of heat and electricity are also critical in several agro-industrial processes. For those reasons, it is clear that to produce food for the population is necessary to use energy. Continue reading

Challenges of food production and bioenergy in Brazil

0000026354-Logo 40 anosBy Manoel Teixeira Souza Jr.
Embrapa Agroenergy – In 2050, according to various estimates, our planet will have a population slightly more than nine billion people. The challenge for all of us over the coming decades is to ensure the means for producing food and energy in sufficient quantity and quality to meet the demand from a population with two billion more people than today. Demand this already suffering and will continue to suffer, more changes in its nature than its volume, which results in significant increase of input of water and soil, to name only two of the most used features. These resources need to be sustainable, both economically, as the social and the environmental.
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Primrose oil no better than placebo for eczema, study finds

34_PlimroseBy Kerry Grens
MSN News — Evening primrose oil doesn’t reduce the symptoms of the itchy skin problem eczema, according to a new review of studies.
Herbal supplement makers market primrose oil as helpful in treating eczema, but “I don’t think you’ll get a specific benefit” from the pills, said Dr. Joel Bamford, the lead author of the review.
Eczema is a common skin disorder, especially among children, marked by itchy, red skin. Commonly, patients are prescribed steroid medications to treat the problem. Primrose oil initially showed some promise in studies several decades ago, said Bamford, who is an associate instructor at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Duluth.
 
But when he tried to replicate the findings, he found that primrose oil didn’t seem to work….. >>Continue Reading<<
 
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Could Wood Feed the World?

11By Charles Q. Choi
Science – The main ingredient of wood, cellulose, is one of the most abundant organic compounds on Earth and a dream source of renewable fuel. Now, bioengineers suggest that it could feed the hungry as well. In a new study, researchers have found a way to turn cellulose into starch, the most common carbohydrate in the human diet. Continue reading

Unbeatable forests

aaaBy Dinorah Erenos
FAPESP – Suzano, a pioneer in the manufacturing of paper and pulp from eucalyptus, is investing in various research fronts simultaneously in its search for innovations. “In a partnership with a European university, we’ve developed a lignin-based polymer for different applications in the market,” says chemical engineer, Fábio Carucci Figliolino, 52, executive manager of Suzano’s industrial research area, who does not reveal all the details of the new discovery. Lignin is an organic polymer responsible for the rigidity of the cell wall of plants. With the University of Nova Lisboa, in Portugal, and the University of São Paulo (USP), in São Carlos, the company made a paper transistor for use in packaging. The State University of Campinas (Unicamp) is a partner in several projects, including the development of a new natural polymer-based film for packaging, which produces a fat barrier.

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Source and Photo: FAPESP, June 2012
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Tackling food waste through a social enterprise model

By Jo Confino

The Guardian – If you were to search for a torchbearer to represent the social enterprise movement, you would be hard put to find someone better than 27-year-old Jenny Dawson.

The founder of chutney and jam company Rubies in the Rubble has that rare quality of integrating a sharp and ambitious business mind with a heart of gold.

Dawson, who this week won the UK prize in a European-wide social enterprise competition run by ice-cream company Ben & Jerry’s, left her lucrative fund management job two years ago because she did not want to reach middle age and wonder why she had not concentrated on something she was passionate about.

Source and Photo: The Guardian, August 22nd, 2012
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