Scientists improve biomass-to-fuel process

May 01, 2013
Los Alamos research better converts energy from fields into fuel tanks.

(Phys.org) —Los Alamos scientists published an article in the scientific journal Nature Chemistry that could offer a big step on the path to renewable energy.

One of the more promising roads to leads away from crude oil and into the forests and fields. For years, scientists have been seeking efficient means to convert non-food based biomass into fuels and , reducing fossil-fuel dependence and reducing . To that end, Los Alamos scientists and collaborators from The University of Guelph in Canada published an article in the scientific journal Nature Chemistry in late April that could offer a big step on the path to renewable energy.

The April journal article, "The hydrodeoxygenation of bioderived furans into alkanes," describes how to take building blocks that are derived from glucose or cellulose (a carbohydrate that is a constituent of and the most common organic compound on Earth) and couple them with other bio-derived building blocks to give new molecules that have between eight and fifteen carbons in a row. The researchers then convert these molecules into hydrocarbons that are similar to those found in gasoline and diesel, enabling an opportunity to synthesize drop-in fuel replacements or such as polymers, pharmaceuticals and pesticides from biomass.

This work describes a completely new approach, an alternative route to convert this class of molecules to hydrocarbons that uses much less energy and has a very high degree of conversion to provide pure products. This very general method allows researchers to generate a range of alkanes from a variety of biomass-derived molecules. The team is looking to improve catalyst recyclability and scale-up methods.

Explore further: Researchers develop new storage cell for solar energy storage, nighttime conversion

More information: www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v5/n5/full/nchem.1609.html

Related Stories

New process speeds conversion of biomass to fuels

Feb 08, 2013

(Phys.org)—Scientists made a major step forward recently towards transforming biomass-derived molecules into fuels. The team led by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers elucidated the chemical mechanism ...

'Green' gasoline on the horizon?

Jan 13, 2009

University of Oklahoma researchers believe newer, more environmentally friendly fuels produced from biomass could create alternative energy solutions and alleviate dependence on foreign oil without requiring changes to current ...

Two-step chemical process turns raw biomass into biofuel

Feb 10, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Taking a chemical approach, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a two-step method to convert the cellulose in raw biomass into a promising biofuel. The process, which is described ...

Biomass as a source of raw materials

May 12, 2009

For the protection of the environment, and because of the limited amount of fossil fuels available, renewable resources, such as specially cultivated plants, wood scraps, and other plant waste, are becoming the focus of considerable ...

Recommended for you

Metal encapsulation optimizes chemical reactions

12 hours ago

The chemical industry consumes millions of tons of packing materials as catalytic sup- port media or adsorbents in fixed-bed reactors and heat storage systems. Fraunhofer researchers have developed a means of encapsulating ...

Fuel and chemicals from steel plant exhaust gases

13 hours ago

Carbon monoxide-rich exhaust gases from steel plants are only being reclaimed to a minor extent as power or heat. Fraunhofer researchers have developed a new recycling process for this materially unused carbon resource: They ...

Self-assembly of molecular Archimedean polyhedra

13 hours ago

Chemists truly went back to the drawing board to develop new X-shaped organic building blocks that can be linked together by metal ions to form an Archimedean cuboctahedron. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, the sc ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.