Researchers using nanotechnology in biofuel process to save money, environment

Oct 08, 2009

Dr. James Palmer, associate professor of chemical engineering at Louisiana Tech University, is collaborating with fellow professors Dr. Yuri Lvov, Dr. Dale Snow, and Dr. Hisham Hegab to capitalize on the environmental and financial benefits of "biofuels" by using nanotechnology to further improve the cellulosic ethanol processes.

Biofuels will play an important part in sustainable fuel and energy production solutions for the future. The country's appetite for fuel, however, cannot be satisfied with traditional crops such as sugar cane or corn alone. Emerging technologies are allowing cellulosic biomass (wood, grass, stalks, etc.) to also be converted into .

Cellulosic ethanol does not compete with food production and has the potential to decrease (GHG) emissions by 86 percent over that of today's fossil fuels. Current techniques for only reduce greenhouse gases by 19 percent.

The nanotechnology processes developed at Louisiana Tech University can immobilize the expensive enzymes used to convert cellulose to sugars, allowing them to be reused several times over and, thus significantly reducing the overall cost of the process.

Savings estimates range from approximately $32 million for each cellulosic ethanol plant to a total of $7.5 billion if a federally-established goal of 16 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol is achieved. This process can easily be applied in large-scale commercial environments and can immobilize a wide variety or mixture of enzymes for production.

The innovative research taking place at Louisiana Tech, along with an excellent growing season, a strong pulp/paper industry, and one of the nation's first cellulosic ethanol demonstration plants, has the state of Louisiana well positioned to become a national contributor in cellulosic ethanol.

This technology, along with other important research being conducted to meet future energy needs, will be highlighted at Louisiana Tech's Energy Systems Conference on November 5 at the Technology Transfer Center in Shreveport.

Source: Louisiana Tech University

Explore further: How to prevent organic food fraud

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers advance cellulosic ethanol production

Sep 08, 2008

A team of researchers from Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering and Mascoma Corporation in Lebanon, N.H., have made a discovery that is important for producing large quantities of cellulosic ethanol, a leading candidate ...

DOE publishes research roadmap for developing cleaner fuels

Jul 07, 2006

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released an ambitious new research agenda for the development of cellulosic ethanol as an alternative to gasoline. The 200-page scientific "roadmap" cites recent advances in biotechnology ...

Process can cut the cost of making cellulosic biofuels

Jan 22, 2009

A patented Michigan State University process to pretreat corn-crop waste before conversion into ethanol means extra nutrients don't have to be added, cutting the cost of making biofuels from cellulose.

Recommended for you

Team pioneers strategy for creating new materials

10 hours ago

Making something new is never easy. Scientists constantly theorize about new materials, but when the material is manufactured it doesn't always work as expected. To create a new strategy for designing materials, ...

Plug n' Play protein crystals

15 hours ago

Almost a hundred years ago in 1929 Linus Pauling presented the famous Pauling's Rules to describe the principles governing the structure of complex ionic crystals. These rules essentially describe how the ...

Protein glue shows potential for use with biomaterials

Aug 28, 2014

Researchers at the University of Milan in Italy have shown that a synthetic protein called AGMA1 has the potential to promote the adhesion of brain cells in a laboratory setting. This could prove helpful ...

User comments : 0