Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Abundant Energy From . . . . . . Rutabagas?

Rutabagas produce a lot of starch, but scientists at Michigan State University have inserted a gene into rutabagas that causes them to produce oil instead of starch. They hope to tweak the rutabaga genome to produce a lot of oil.
Benning and his fellow researchers have inserted a gene called wrinkled1 into the rutabagas that regulates the conversion of carbohydrates into oil.

The hope is that the gene will make the rutabagas produce oil rather than starch inside their bulbous roots, turning these cold-resistant root vegetables into a viable biofuel crop for Michigan....If plants could be made that produce oil throughout, "we could use that vegetative tissue, all that biomass that is going into making a plant."
The most prolific oilseed crops grow best in the tropics. Being able to tweak the genomes of plants to create a prolific cold-weather oil producer could make a big difference in the economics of biodiesel and biofuels.

In other energy news, Nexterra Energy Corp. has developed a breakthrough method of producing syngas in one location, for transport and use at another location. This allows for the economy of scale in syngas production, which should gradually lead to regional centralisation of production with distributed use.

University of Nebraska researchers studied the sustainability of using corn stover for biofuels, and discovered that using a significant portion of stover for biofuels--but not all--can be sustainable. As always, further studied is required.

A Texas A&M developed process can convert waste to gasoline. The process is currently in the pilot phase.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts