Tag Archives: Renewable Energy

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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Estimating the Biodiesel Supply Curve

2The CROP Site – The purpose of this post is to derive the biodiesel supply curve from the relationships first presented in the September 25 post.

We begin by reviewing the main results of that earlier post. Figure 1 shows a scatter of monthly biodiesel production and net returns above variable costs for each calendar year between 2010 and 2013. Monthly biodiesel production is estimated by the EIA and monthly biodiesel net production returns above variable costs are based on a model of a representative Iowa biodiesel plant (see the post here).

A best-fit regression line is also shown for each year, with the natural log (ln) of production used as the dependent variable. The data are divided by calendar years because in years when the blenders tax credit is not in place (2010 and 2012) there is little relationship between biodiesel production and returns. Basically, production in these years is “stuck” at the RFS biodiesel mandate regardless of the level of returns.

In the other years (2011 and 2013) market participants expect the credit to expire at the end of a calendar year, so there there is an obvious incentive for blenders to bid up the price of biodiesel in order to increase production and take full advantage of the credit before it expires. In essence, the unusual market circumstances in 2011 and 2013 provide a unique opportunity to identify a biodiesel supply curve even with a seemingly binding RFS mandate in place…>>Continue Reading<<

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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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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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