Last week saw Cobalt Biofuels raise $25 million in a ‘C’ round of financing. Cobalt is developing a process for producing biobutanol. This is major news as butanol is a heavy alcohol at four carbon atoms and much more difficult to make than lighter products like one carbon atom methanol or two carbon atom ethanol. [...]

Watching Catalysts Work

October 30, 2008 | 7 Comments

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists have managed to observe catalysts restructuring themselves as gases are moved through. Using a state-of-the-art spectroscopy system the team watched, for the first time, as nanoparticles composed of two catalytic metals changed their composition in the presence of different reactants. Until now, scientists have had to rely on snapshots of [...]

There goes that skepticism trigger again. History is littered with ideas that turned out to be groundless from bleeding people in medicine to the parade of perpetual motion motors in physics. So it’s hard to give such ambition and revolutionary concepts much traction. Except the germ theory panned out and something will have to give [...]

With a rush that may be even faster than the rising price of oil, prices have just collapsed. This is a good thing. In many ways: Many people dream, invest and work at of developing alternative energy and fuel technologies and the price collapse is a reality check illustrating that as alternatives take market share [...]

Fuel From Thin Air

October 27, 2008 | 10 Comments

Headlines like that really set off skeptical responses. But nature is doing it and has been at it for at least hundreds of millions of years. Cleaving off the O2 from water made animal life possible. It exists so it’s only a matter of time until science comes up with ways to do it too. [...]

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