Component of asphalt eyed as new fuel source

Sep 23, 2009

The pavement material that cars drive on may wind up in their fuel tanks as scientists seek ways of transforming asphaltenes -- the main component of asphalt -- into an abundant new source of fuel, according to the cover story in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

C&EN senior editor Celia Henry Arnaud notes that rich supplies of asphaltene exist in Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela. But converting this heavy, sticky material into something other than "blacktop" remains a challenge. Sometimes derided as "the cholesterol of petroleum," asphaltenes are difficult to extract from deposits and clog refinery pipes, the article notes.

Scientists, however, are using newly crafted analytical techniques to probe the molecular structure of asphaltenes in the quest for better ways of producing and refining asphaltene-rich sources in the future.

More information: "Digging into Asphaltenes", pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/87/8738cover.html

Source: American Chemical Society (news : web)

Explore further: Building the ideal rest stop for protons

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Race for better superconductors heats up

Oct 20, 2008

Scientists have discovered a new family of superconductors -- materials that carry electricity more efficiently than copper and other metals -- whose properties rekindle enthusiasm about the possibility that these exotic ...

Super-thin carbon sheets poised to revolutionize electronics

Mar 02, 2009

Super-thin films of carbon with exotic properties, now taking the scientific world by storm, may soon mean a new era of brighter, faster, and smaller computers, smart phones, and other consumer electronics. Brighter digital ...

Toward greener, more energy-efficient buildings

Nov 17, 2008

In the face of growing environmental concerns and a renewed interest in energy efficiency, the construction of homes and businesses that emphasize "green" construction materials is on the rise, according to an article scheduled ...

Freeing protein-based drugs from bacteria's natural traps

Oct 13, 2008

In a finding that could speed the development of new protein-based drugs for fighting diabetes, hepatitis, and other diseases, researchers are reporting progress toward preventing or destroying an unusual structure that reduces ...

Recommended for you

Building the ideal rest stop for protons

6 hours ago

Where protons, or positive charges, decide to rest makes the difference between proceeding towards ammonia (NH3) production or not, according to scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and ...

Cagey material acts as alcohol factory

7 hours ago

Some chemical conversions are harder than others. Refining natural gas into an easy-to-transport, easy-to-store liquid alcohol has so far been a logistic and economic challenge. But now, a new material, designed ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

otto1923
5 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2009
-So we mine the roads as we install the roadway solar panels, eh? :-)
zevkirsh
not rated yet Sep 24, 2009
i bet whatever they learn in this research will only wind up helping to expand our current road system, using asphalt, nothing else.