Category Archives: biofuels

[NEWS] Academics Slam Chatham House Bioenergy Report as “Misleading”

– by Liz Gyekye, March 13, 2017, Bioenergy Insight

wood pellets bioenergy insight

Photo: Bioenergy Insight

More than 125 academics have joined the International Energy Agency Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme (IEA Bioenergy) slamming Chatham House’s recent report on bioenergy, calling it ‘misleading.

The group of academics from across the world and the IEA state that the report “does not present an objective overview of the current state of scientific understanding with respect to the climate effects of bioenergy”.

They are urging the Chatham House author to “reconsider flawed policy recommendations.”

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[NEWS] Biomass Proposal Would Use Human and Animal Manure to Produce Biocrude Oil and Algae

– by Pam Eggmeier, January 24, 2017, SaukValley.com

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Photo: Livescience.com

City leaders gathered Tuesday to learn more about two possible business ventures – one that would be run by the city, and the other by a private company.

The Committee of the Whole heard presentations by Magellan, the city’s broadband consultant, and Green Vision International. The meetings give council members an opportunity to discuss particular issues at length, but no action is taken.

Green Vision International has been working with the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center at the University of Illinois on a biomass recycling project that could be launched commercially in Rock Falls.

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[NEWS] Vision for Bioenergy Parks Offers Lifeline to Maine’s Forest Products Industry

– by Tux Turkel, February 2, 2017, Portland Press Herald

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Maine’s obsolete biomass power plants and its struggling or shuttered paper mills are world-class assets that can become testing grounds for a new manufacturing economy based on sustainably harvested wood, says an international group of energy developers.

Seen through fresh eyes, these industrial relics are the pieces with which entrepreneurs can build bioenergy parks, where all parts of a tree are used to make electricity, fuel, food, material and other things, eventually replacing similar products made from petroleum.

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[NEWS] New Study on Carbon Emissions from Bioenergy

– by Prachi Patel, January 26, 2017, Anthropocene

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Photo: Anthropocene

Many climate policies and models consider biomass carbon-neutral. The argument is that carbon emitted during burning the biomass is balanced out by the carbon that plants and trees sequester. But that understanding is flawed.

Biomass is indeed renewable, and burning biomass or biomass-derived fuels can offset fossil fuel use. However, cultivating and harvesting biomass, transporting it, and processing it for energy or to make liquid fuels all emits greenhouse gases. Exactly how the biomass is used—whether directly or turned into fuel—also makes a difference.

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[NEWS] Enzyme Shows Promise for Efficiently Converting Plants to Biofuels

– January 24, 2017, Phys.org

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Graphic: Phys.org

To make biofuels, tiny microbes can be used to break down plant cells. As part of that digestive process, specialized enzymes break down cellulose—a major molecule that makes plant cell walls rigid. Scientists showed that an enzyme, from the bacterial glycoside hydrolase family 12, plays an unexpectedly important role in breaking down a hard-to-degrade crystalline form of cellulose. Surprisingly, the enzyme breaks apart the cellulose via a random mechanism unlike other hydrolases.

Breaking down cellulose is a major challenge in developing more efficient strategies for converting plant biomass to fuels and chemicals. The discovery of a specialized enzyme that is highly effective at breaking down rigid plant cell wall components could be harnessed to solve this challenge.

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[NEWS] County-by-County Variability of Bioenergy Crop Yields in the U.S.

– January 20, 2017, Phys.org

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Photo: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Using corn and soybeans as their testing ground, researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory devised methods to peer into the mechanisms that modulate crop yield variability. They used statistical models to examine how climate variability impacts yields of these popular bioenergy crops at the county level. Among climate factors, the team showed that temperature is predominant in corn-growing counties, both by volume and percentage of production. Precipitation has a similar impact. The amount of energy from the sun, or radiation, has a much smaller effect USA-wide on both soybeans and corn.

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