"Biofuels such as ethanol are compounds derived from plants that can be used to fuel internal-combustion engines such as those in cars and small machinery. Creating these fuels from plants can reduce the environmental and political problems caused by a reliance on oil. Although much ethanol production, especially in the United States, comes from corn, switchgrass is a promising alternative. It is a North American native grass that can grow on marginal land without the extensive inputs that corn or sugar cane require, and it produces a much better energy yield. Making ethanol from switchgrass, though, is a challenging process."
"Research into sources for biological fuels -- biofuels -- has included everything from chicken fat to wood chips. But processing most of them yields a low net energy ratio -- the amount of energy each unit puts out isn't much more than the energy put into its production. Cost has also been a problem: Techniques for extracting fuels from plant and animal resources are currently expensive, which would be reflected at the fuel pump. But the more researchers crunch the numbers on switchgrass, the more it looks like a good candidate for an alternative fuel source."
"People keep saying the biofuel market isn’t going anywhere, but the folks at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have a new trick up their sleeves. They have developed a new super-hardy strain of the bacteria E. coli, and they have demonstrated that it can make a critical biofuel precursor from switchgrass using a simple, low cost “one-pot” process."
The trucks roll in and out of the plant at a business park nestled near papaya farms and a forest preserve on the Big Island here, an operation that transforms waste cooking oils, animal fats, fruit and seeds into biodiesel fuel, nearly 13,000 gallons a day.
"Teams of undergraduate students huddled quietly around the gray metal desks in the teaching labs at Harvard’s Science Center. Each group was creating a calorimeter out of a used soda can and scavenged Styrofoam cups to determine the energy density and efficiency of the biodiesel they had extracted the week before from waste fryer oil provided by Annenberg Dining Hall."
"Five of the Solomon Islands have submerged underwater and six more have experienced a dramatic reduction in shoreline due to man-made climate change, according to a paper published in the journal Environmental Research Letters."
The US Supreme Court on Tuesday barred President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) from taking effect until legal challenges against the legislation are solved.
"Now in its fourth year, the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook series documents the revolution transforming how the US produces, delivers, and consumes energy. The 2016 Factbook provides an update through the end of 2015, highlighting a number of key developments that occurred as the long-term transformation of US energy continues to unfold."
"Argonne National Laboratory released a study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) that examines the potential effects of future biofuel production on freshwater resources in the Missouri River Basin—a region that could play a central role in the production of cellulosic biomass like switchgrass, a perennial energy crop. The study identified four areas that could be associated with increased feedstock production, and demonstrated that increasing the amount of switchgrass acreage in these hot spots could significantly improve water quality."