Researchers at the University of Twente have developed a simple new catalyst that improves the quality of bio oil. The bio oil they have in mind comes from wood chips or plant residues, which seldom has the same quality and energy content as fossil sourced crude oil. The new catalyst upgrades the bio oil closer [...]

Janet Westpheling at the University of Georgia (UG) has engineered microbes allowing the direct conversion of switchgrass to ethanol. Her study paper was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, documenting the direct conversion of biomass to ethanol without a pre-treatment, using the engineered bacterium Caldicellulosiruptor bescii. Hopes for affordable transportation fuels [...]

New catalysts are coming to remove oxygenated compounds from bio-derived oils. Biofuels produced from waste agricultural or forestry material are particularly desirable because they avoid diverting resources from the production of food crops. But, oils produced by high-temperature treatment of these waste materials contain a large amount of oxygenated compounds that result in undesirable properties [...]

Joy Doran-Peterson of the University of Georgia chaired a steering committee producing a report suggesting educators need to rethink how future microbiologists are trained. Microbes can be highly efficient, versatile and sophisticated manufacturing tools, and have the potential to form the basis of a vibrant economic sector.  The report is based on the deliberations of [...]

In a stunning development a multi-institutional team led from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reports that it can increase sugarcane’s geographic range, boost its photosynthetic rate by 30 percent and turn it into an oil-producing crop for biodiesel production. The team will present its latest findings today at the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E [...]

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