• 07Mar
    Categories: Bio Fuels Comments: 0

    ionic-liquidsIf you talk to winemakers, they will tell you that it is good practice to blend different types of grapes to get that balance in terms of flavors. Maybe a few years from now, this will also be true for biofuels that we will be using for our cars.

    A study conducted by Joint BioEnergy Institute in collaboration with the Department Energy of the United States established that ionic liquids can be used to pre-treat individual or blend of feedstocks of biofuels.

    The experiment yielded promising results, showing the ionic liquids can effectively handle milled feedstocks that have been turned into pellets. After treatment, the biofuel feedstocks can still yield a good amount of fermentable sugars. This only shows that blending and even densifying a variety of feedstocks has a good potential to make a biofuel technology for the transportation sector cost-competitive.

    The proponents used a good variety of plants that can serve as fuel crops. The materials were mixed and then milled to pellets or floor then pretreated with an ionic liquid. The experiment aimed at determining the effect of mixing the feedstocks and densification of the blend on the biomass that yields fermentable sugars for production of biofuels.

    The team is investigating methodsto up the energy densities of the biomass feedstocks in order to make delivery to transportation biofuel refineries more economical. The results of the experiment proves that biofuel feedstocks can be densified into pellets or flours without significant effects on their sugar yield.

    The proponents used blends of lodgepole pine, eucalyptus, corn stover, and switchgrass to make pellets and flour then processed it within a day. The material still yielded about 90% in either forms upon saccharification.

    The next step of the study will be to determine the most cost efficient blend of feedstock in pellet form in the United States and then determine the most efficient process to convert them to biofuels.

  • 12Dec

    research-on-gas-from-grasTurn straw into gold. Such stuff can only be see in fairy tales. Today, a group of scientist is trying to turn straw into consumable energy.

    The experts make use of a nanocatalyst to perform this modern-day magic. The particle that stirs up the process has some particles of gold on the surface of the titatium-oxide. The combination of these materials are quite strong to break bonds between molecules of oxygen and between molecules of acetic acid. A few technical terms after and you will get ethanol, an important precursor to produce viable fuel.

    Because of its ability to break bonds between molecules, the nanocatalyst is being looked at as one of the best candidates to be used in industrial applications for the production of clean energy. One of the proponents explained that the nanoparticles have very high activity during various reactions.

    In order to look into the possibilities, the team from the University of Virginia combines lab experiments with computer simulations. Through their work, they saw a reaction site on the gold-titanium complex that is pretty much like catalysis.

    The earlier part of the study made the scientist think that it was only the gold that was active during the reactions they saw. Recently though they realized that the oxides also play a very important role in the process. They create the site where the most important reactions can take place.

    Experts say that oil will be more expensive in the future and the only way out for us will be to do biomass conversion. Scientists need to find efficient ways to make biofuels affordable and having better catalysts will make the process a lot easier.

    The simulations on computers for the gold-titanium oxide catalyst is just a start of something big. If it ever leads to producing gases from the grasses, this will lead to more sustainable fuels that are available to the masses.

  • 19Oct
    Categories: Bio Fuels Comments: 0


    Special chemical firm Evonik introduces the bio-derived variant of MTBE or methyl-tertiary-butyl. The MTBE is an oxygenate that helps improve the combustion of gasoline, prevent knocking of the engine, and lower carbon monoxide and other harmful emissions. It is made from biomethanol and isobutene in their Marl, Germany factory.

    The MTBE has been known for decades as an antiknocking agent , the Bio-MTBE also has the same technical properties in terms of energy density, oxygen content, solubility, and vapor pressure as its conventional counterpart. This means that the Bio-MTBE can be sent through pipelines, stored in tanks, and handled in the refineries safely.

    Since it is formulated from the raw form of glycerine, a co-product when manufacturing biodiesel, bio-methanol is considered as a waste product in the EU. This fact makes Bio-MTBE a viable option for manufacturers that hope to meet the specs of the EU for using biofuels

    Evonik has the Netherlands and Germany as its primary markets for the Bio-MTBE and the implementation of the EU directives in other member countries shows the good potential for the product. European specs for gasoline allows 15% of MTBE while the revised directives for fuel quality expanded this to 22% for gasoline.

    In the United States, MTBE has been used since 1979 in place of lead to boost the octane level of the fuel. Starting in 1992, MTBE has been used in higher concentrations in accordance with the clean air act enacted in 1990. In the late 90s though, some drinking water samples tested positive for MTBE so a lot of states started to phase it out.

  • 17Jul
    Categories: Bio Fuels Comments: 0

    A group of experts at the Michigan State University has designed a new biofuel process that can produce about twenty times the energy of the processes that we know today. The study makes use of microbes to make hydrogen and biofuel from agricultural wastes.

    The microbiologists developed MECs or microbial electrolysis cells that utilizes the bacteria to breakdown the agricultural wastes and ferment them into ethanol. This method is quite unique as it makes use of another bacterium that clears up the mixture of all the non-ethanol material and at the same time generates electricity in the process.

    Similar studies were done before but energy recovery for raw materials like corn stover is only about 3.5%. This new study shows a great improvement on this aspect as the energy recovery hits 35% to 40% from the fermentation process. This big jump on the energy recovery is pointed to the careful selection process of the bacterium use for fermentation and conversion to ethanol. The byproducts can also be processed by another bacterium keeping in mind to keep the process optimal.

    The Geobacter sulfurreducens produces electricity. The generated electricity though is not harvested but used during the MEC to generate hydrogen and up the energy recovery. The production of the hydrogen helps with the energy recovery process and increases it to around 73%.

    The scientists are still optimizing the process to make it commercially viable.

  • 25Apr
    Categories: Bio Fuels Comments: 0

    When you look at a bigger production scale, a recent study points out, liquid fuels like diesel derived from crop residue may actually be competitive against the petroleum based fuels at the current levels of prices.

    Scientists from the Stevens Institute of Technology conducted a research and their preliminary analysis looked into a Biorefinery Collective of biomass-to-liquid fuels using centralized ATR or autothermal reforming and fast pyrolysis followed by synthesis using Fischer-TRopsch process. Different sizes of plants ranging from 35,000; 10,000; and 2,000 dry tonnes of biomass a day with 8 percent return, the experts found out that the sales price can go for $2.06, $2.40, and $3.30 a gallon, respectively, without taxes.

    The process will involve collection of surplus biomass like crop residue and then pyrolizing this biomass into PO or pyrolysis oil, char, and NCG or noncondensable gas. The next step will be to move the PO into a processing facility so that the PO can be converted to synthesis gas via autothermal reforming and then FT synthesis to make it into a diesel fuel. These steps were tagged by the proponents as the Biorefinery Collective.

    The higher density of the pyrolisis oil compared to the biomass my lower the transport cost to the ATR plant and pipeline transport can also be considered. The pyrolyzer collective will entail a number of farms in a certain location where each of the farm will send the residues of their crop to a pyrolizer in the area to convert it to pyrolysis oil.

    The study sees the cost of the biomass to be the number one factor in pricing as the crude oil prices is to the current market pricing today. And they found out that effective methods of collection and delivery of the biomass will lead to lower cost.

  • 27Jan

    BiodieselScientists from the Technische Universitat Munchen headed by Dr. Johannes Lercher introduce a new catalytic process which paves for the effective conversion of microalgae oils to renewable diesel. Plant oils are viable raw materials for making biofuels. Microalgae in particular is an excellent feedstock resource as it has about 60 wt percent of high tryglycerides , grows up to two hundred times faster than other oil crops like rapeseed or soybean, and does not pose a food versus oil production conflict.

    The researchers noted that at the moment there are basically three ways to refine oil from microalgae:

    • make use of hydrotreating catalysts like CoMo and sulfided NiMo but these may contaminate the product;
    • transesterification of alcohol and triglycerides into glycerol and FAAEs just like how it is done for the 1st gen biodiesel but this results to problem with flow property in colder weather giving it a limited application;
    • make use of base metal and noble catalysts for decarbonylation and decarboxylation of carboxylic acid into alkanes

    The experts reports that crude oil from microalgae can be converted to a high grade biofuel fit for transportation application by using Ni as scalable catalyst supported with zeolite Hbeta.

    The microalgae used for the study consist of comprised unsaturated fatty acids, saturated fatty acids, and other fatty acids. The microalgae hydrotreated the material using the NI/HBeta catalyst and they were able to obtain good amount of octadecane, propane, and methane.

    The new approach in this study gives way to possibilities to produce high grade transportation fuels using microalgae as raw material and doing it in large scale production.

  • 25Oct
    Categories: Bio Fuels Comments: 0

    biofuelPushed by the need to address concerns with regard to climate change, economics, and energy security, more than 30 governments across the globe have enacted laws to facilitate the faster production of biofuels and expansion of their infrastructure. The better production of biofuel will somehow lessen the use of fossil fuels especially by the transportation industry.

    According to a recent research, the biofuel industry will double its market value due to increased production and consumption in a decade’s time. Experts foresee it to grow from $82.7 billion this year to around $185 billion come 2021.

    The widespread growth of the industry across regions will reshape industries and the geopolitical landscape according to analysts. Steps must also be taken to overcome challenges to meet the possible high demand of the ground, maritime, and aviation fuel markets.

    Although the fuel industry have shown considerable success in the United States, European Union, and Brazil, the issue to face now will be sustainability, product neutrality, and feedstock versatility. The   experts agree that the use and production of biofuels will be spreading to developing and developed economies in the next ten years but the access to feedstock will lead to big trades across country with Brazil being the key supplier.

    The projections were made by Pike Research thru their report called Biofuels Markets and Technologies detailing key opportunities and challenges in biodiesel and ethanol. They looked into developments of policies, market drivers, feedstock economics, production, demands in different sectors, and the major industry players.

  • 22Aug

    Gartner, Inc. is a firm that specializes in IT research. Based in Stamford, Connecticut, they also function as an advisory firm. In its latest published research, the American IT firm found out that German consumers would most likely go for automobiles that carry advance engine technologies over electric cars.

    In the study made by Gartner, they show that most German consumers are loyal to automobiles that are powered by traditional gasoline engines with hybrids coming in second place to their preferences. In Germany, diesel powered cars are also rampant, which are the German consumers’ 3rd preference with natural-gas powered vehicles as 4th.

    According to the results of the study, only about 16% of German auto consumers would even think of getting electric vehicles. The reason for this staggering low rate is that German consumers are unwilling to pay a premium for these vehicles. Moreover, the study reveals that only half of that 16% would really purchase an electric vehicle if the operating costs would be 70% less compared to the operating costs of gasoline/diesel powered vehicles.

    In the previous years, we have seen the rampant production of plug-in and full electric vehicles as well as assessment programs that test them in real life situations. Despite the staggering low rate among German consumers’ take on electric vehicles, the study’s forecast for long term will improve. Let’s just hope that by year 2030, we will see great improvement towards the widespread use of electric vehicles from consumers all over the world.

  • 29Jul

    Using the conventional process of transforming gas to liquids and chemical products, the natural gas is first changed into what they call “syngas” or synthetic gas. The so-called syngas is a gas mixture that contains hydrogen and different amounts of carbon monoxide. The syngas is then converted into fuel, methanol, or other liquid chemical products. This conventional syngas process is tedious, not to mention expensive and requires a high level of maintenance.

    Gas Technologies LLC, an alternative energy company, has found a way to convert natural gas to fuel without going through the syngas process. It costs way lower than the conventional syngas process. Gas Technologies LLC just recently decided to improve its GasTechno plants and offer mini gas-to-liquid packages.

    The GasTechno process is able to convert natural gas to fuel through a “direct homogenous partial oxidation” procedure. It also comes with the so-called “energy-neutral cycle” that continuously works with unconverted materials until they reach the desired conversion.

    GasTechno’s core process plus the auxiliary compressor system can effectively deliver 30,000 standard cubic feet of gas daily (scfd). When the company decides to go commercial, they can produce almost 30 million cubic feet of gas per day. This figure is based on a study made by an independent party that GasTechno mentioned.

    As a first step towards clients who wish to avail of the GasTechno process, the company recently announced their Basic Engineering Package (BES) that amounts to $250,000, which is cheaper than the conventional method plus recommendations from the company itself.

  • 22Jun
    Categories: Bio Fuels Comments: 0

    p28 Green tide- QingdaoResearchers in Shanghai’s Fudan University were able to convert marine macroalgae that is among the main reasons for green tide to bio-oil.

    The green tide is considered to be among the major problems in the marine environment across the globe. A massive breakout of green tide in the Yellow Sea near Qingdao in China created big problems. A massive amount of drifting green tide ended along the coastlines which caused negative effects to the environment and to the quality of seawater. The cleanup drive resulted to a collection of a million ton of macroalgal waste.

    The study which was recently published in science journals studied the effects of temperature, alkali catalyst, and reaction time of the green tide. Different methods were utilized to study the characters of the solid and liquid products.

    We decided not to really enumerate the process that was done since it is too technical for everyone but the experts were able to derive biooil that is a blend of aromatics, esters, fatty acids, alkenes, phenols, aldehydes, ketones, and other substances.