Wednesday, July 02, 2008

New Energy Trends Big and Small

Toyota is the most successful automobile manufacturer in the world, so its future plans for energy efficiency and innovation mean something. Read more about Toyota's plans here.

Less earth-shaking perhaps, but vitally important in the overall energy use scheme of things, is the resourceful approach many distillers are beginning to take in managing their own fuel costs for the distilling process.
Bourbon byproducts are being processed into methane gas for the first time in history to fuel the boilers of a Kentucky-based distiller. Maker's Mark recently installed a proprietary whole stillage treatment system provided by Ecovation Inc. at its distillery in Loretto, Kentucky. The new facility will turn stillage, a mixture of water grains and dead yeast, into a methane-rich biogas.

The bourbon maker expects to use the output to meet 15 per cent to 30 per cent of its natural gas consumption. The same system was previously deployed at Simi Winery, a distillery based in Sonoma County, California in the U.S. Initial tests were also conducted at several major distilleries in Scotland. __EnergyCurrents
Other distillers are firing their boilers with corncobs, garbage, municipal sludge, and other "waste" products that would formerly be expensive disposal problems.

In the near future, a way of improving efficiencies in the production of cellulosic biofuels may lie in how the lignin component of the cellulose-hemicellulose-lignin trifecta is dealt with.
A major problem is that the two types of energy-rich components found in biomass — cellulose and hemicellulose — tend to get tangled up in a sticky web of lignin during processing. What is needed, and what Ralph is pursuing, is an easy way to remove lignin so that these long chains of sugars can be extracted from biomass, turned into simple sugars and converted to ethanol.

"We are (developing the technology) to redesign an agricultural plant so that its lignin falls apart easier to make the production of ethanol much more efficient," says Ralph. "If we get this figured out, there is the potential for a huge reduction in the cost of ethanol."
__Bioenergycheckbiotech
A better way of dealing with lignin would bring about not only a reduction in the cost of ethanol, but a reduction in the cost of bio-butanol, bio-plastics, and other biochemicals and biofuels.

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4 Comments:

Blogger J. Paige said...

In nature only fungi degrade lignin. And they don't do it enzymatically, rather, with an interesting ferric-ferrous electron shuttle that promotes an OH-dot radical, something over 4 volts of oxidation potential..blasting the thing apart!

The people in the paper business have the most experience in separating lignin from other tree parts, they don't do it enzymatically, either.

10:59 AM  
Blogger J. Paige said...

In nature only fungi degrade lignin. And they don't do it enzymatically, rather, with an interesting ferric-ferrous electron shuttle that promotes an OH-dot radical, something over 4 volts of oxidation potential..blasting the thing apart!

The people in the paper business have the most experience in separating lignin from other tree parts, they don't do it enzymatically, either.

10:59 AM  
Blogger J. Paige said...

In nature only fungi degrade lignin. And they don't do it enzymatically, rather, with an interesting ferric-ferrous electron shuttle that promotes an OH-dot radical, something over 4 volts of oxidation potential..blasting the thing apart!

The people in the paper business have the most experience in separating lignin from other tree parts, they don't do it enzymatically, either.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

There is another solution. Lignin BioFuels has the technology to convert lignin to napthenic kerosene with a fast low cost catalytic processes. Lignin can be easily separated from celluloses and hemicelluose and then the lignin is processed. For more details go to www. ligninbiofuels.com

6:13 AM  

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