Study makes plant sugars more accessible for biofuel production

Researchers collaborating through the Center for Bioenergy Innovation recently developed a way to make the sugars in plant cells more accessible for producing second-generation biofuels. The results are published in Carbohydrate Polymers.

The outer walls of plant cells are constructed from polysaccharides, molecules made of bonded sugars. These molecules determine the physical properties of plants and affect their growth. A metabolic reaction called acetylation modifies the sugar chains to support life processes like cell wall strengthening.

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Phillips 66 to introduce Jet Renewable Diesel ‘this summer’

Phillips 66 has announced its Jet Renewable Diesel will go on sale at two Jet forecourts this summer, following positive customer feedback after it was launched as a wholesale offering in February 2022.

The renewable diesel is a paraffinic fuel that is chemically similar to conventional fossil-fuel-based diesel but derived from biomass sources such as used cooking oil, fats, greases and vegetable oils. This produces a fuel that is significantly lower in carbon intensity than fossil fuel and it qualifies as a renewable transport fuel under UK law.

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New perspective highlights promise of hybrid approach for cellulosic biofuel production

The rapid pace of global climate change has added urgency to developing technologies that reduce the carbon footprint of transportation technologies, especially in sectors that are difficult to electrify. In response, researchers collaborating through the Center for Bioenergy Innovation make the case that scientific advances support a hybrid approach using biological and catalytic methods for producing cellulosic biofuel for use in airplanes, ships and long-haul trucks.

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Many challenges exist for large-scale carbon measurement

Soil carbon measurements and accurate documentation is one of the challenging tasks in establishing high-quality tradable carbon credits and meeting market requirements. Soil carbon measurement may sound easy to accomplish, but it is complex and costly. Many approaches have evolved over time that include laboratory analysis, direct field measurements and a modeling approach, or a combination of both.

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Plant-Based Epoxy Enables Recyclable Carbon Fiber, Improves Economics for Mass Market Electric Vehicles

Ten times stronger than steel, nearly half the weight of aluminum, far stiffer than fiberglass—carbon fiber carries a package of advantages, making it a preferred material for use in luxury sedans and Formula One racecars alike.

But it still needs perfecting to become economical for mass market vehicles, according to National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) scientist Nicholas Rorrer. "Carbon fiber is expensive," he explained. "It is also energy intensive to make, so it is not exactly greenhouse gas (GHG) friendly. Making carbon fiber readily recyclable could help in both these regards."

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Home Energy Conservation for Kids

Energy is very important. It is something that kids need and use every day at home and at school. In fact, some form of energy is used just about anywhere that you can imagine! It is also something that adults talk, worry, and have concerns about. One of the things that they worry about is called energy conservation. When you hear the words “conserving” and “conservation,” it means to use less of something. If you are using less of something, then you are saving it: If you are conserving energy, that means you are saving it by using less of it. Energy conservation is just as important as energy itself. It is also something that kids can help with.

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Youth is Fighting Microplastic Pollution with Magnetic Liquid After Winning Google Science Fair

A young Irishman has come up with his own “cool science-y method” to solve the microplastic pollution conundrum, winning Google’s international science fair in the process.

By mixing magnetized iron oxide and vegetable oil, he created a kind of liquid magnet that collects microplastics which can then be removed via magnetism, leaving only glistening water behind.

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Biomass explained

Biomass—renewable energy from plants and animals

Biomass is renewable organic material that comes from plants and animals. Biomass was the largest source of total annual U.S. energy consumption until the mid-1800s. Biomass continues to be an important fuel in many countries, especially for cooking and heating in developing countries. The use of biomass fuels for transportation and for electricity generation is increasing in many developed countries as a means of avoiding carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use. In 2020, biomass provided nearly 5 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) and about 5% of total primary energy use in the United States.

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DIY Home Biodiesel Production: Make Your Own Fuel

If you’re steering your household toward a more self-sufficient lifestyle, maybe you’d like to add do-it-yourself fuel to your list of goals. Biodiesel can be brewed from waste vegetable oil or animal fats, which you can collect free from restaurants, or you can grow soybeans or canola to press your own oil. Process the oil with a couple of chemicals to produce homemade fuel that can run any device powered by petroleum diesel — including pickups, cars, and home heating systems. Do it right, and DIY biodiesel can cost as little as $1 per gallon to manufacture. The scale is up to you: Brew enough to make your homestead fuel-independent, or join forces with neighbors to produce fuel for your collective households.

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