• Biofuel yields boosted by scientists
    Yields for biofuel produced from woody plants can be increased with gaseous ozone

Biofuel Industry News

Biofuel yields boosted by scientists

Jul 05 2010

Scientists at North Carolina State University have developed a technique to boost biofuel yields obtained from woody plants.

The research focused on the process of breaking down lignin, the woody material that protects the core of the plant - which, in many cases, is where the energy needed for the biofuel is locked away.

Instead of using harsh chemicals, the scientists used gaseous ozone to process the lignin.

The result was a solid rich in carbohydrates, which can be processed without creating any unnecessary waste.

By comparison, the conventional procedure is to use chemicals to break down the lignin.

However, this produces liquid waste which must be siphoned off and typically carries away some of the carbohydrates that provide the energy.

The process could mean that food crops can be replaced with other, inedible plants whose lignin content previously made them unsuitable for biofuel production.

The Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment recently warned that, if edible crops continue to be used for the production of greener fuels, demand could rise for food in the years to come.

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