Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bioenergy News Links and Briefs

Cool Planet Energy Systems thinks they can make advanced biofuels for $1.50 a gallon.
The company has a test facility in Camarillo, CA that creates fuel by pressing feedstock between plates under high pressure, and then placing the plates in a device called a fractionator. This process results in a release of a gas which is then captured and then converted, using catalysts, to a liquid. _PO

A Korean team of researchers has managed to increase production yield of butanol from glucose through improved genetic engineering of the microbe Clostridium Acytobutylicum
Using a systems metabolic engineering approach, researchers in Korea have improved the butanol production performance of Clostridium acetobutylicum, one of the best known butanol-producing bacteria. A paper on their work is published in mBio, an open access journal issued by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

A promising new way of breaking down cellulose into cheap sugars earns a patent.

Poet's approach to converting cellulose into sugars is a bit more energy intensive:
The Andritz technology is a two-stage process that includes a vertical reactor, an interstage washer and then the continuous steam explosion technology (Advanced SteamEx, a trademarked process) to draw out available sugars from the cellulose material. It’s those sugars—through Project Liberty’s proprietary enzyme and yeast technologies—that get converted into ethanol. _BiomassMag

Calysta's "Bio-GTL" uses bioengineered organisms to produce chemicals and fuels from methane.

The US Navy continues to develop its ability to produce its own liquid fuels from biomass

The need to develop reliable biomass supply chains

Biomass is a less dense, less concentrated a form of potential energy, as compared to fossil fuels or nuclear energy. But biomass can be grown almost anywhere on Earth, land or sea, year after year after year.

As better biomass crops are developed, better ways of densifying biomass are created, and better ways of converting biomass into energy are perfected, bioenergy becomes more viable in competition with other energy sources -- particularly in geographically isolated areas.

But realistically, for the near to intermediate future, relatively inexpensive energy from conventional and unconventional fossil fuels will remain inexpensive enough to keep most forms of biofuels from the competitive marketplace.

Nevertheless, as breakthroughs continue to be made in terms of better yields and greater efficiencies of supply and production, bioenergy will grow more competitive.

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