New model to help valorize lignin for bio-based applications

Woody biomass and wheat straw are all sources of the natural polymer lignin with more than 50 megatons of lignin produced annually at commercial scale. However, most is burned to produce energy, which alternatively could ...

Bioengineered yeast feed on agricultural waste

Yeast has been used for thousands of years in the production of beer and wine and for adding fluff and flavor to bread. They are nature's tiny factories that can feed on sugars found in fruit and grains and other nutrients—and ...

Engineers reveal the secrets behind green graphene

When Ange Nzihou, an expert in converting society's waste into valuable products, visited Princeton in 2022, he brought with him a technique to transform waste biomass into graphene, a material with many uses from batteries ...

Marine viruses: Submerged players of climate change

While the world has been heavily focused on the usual players of global climate change, like fossil fuels and deforestation, a group of unlikely contenders has emerged from the depths of the ocean—marine viruses. These ...

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Biomass, is a renewable energy source, biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms, such as wood, waste, and alcohol fuels. Biomass is commonly plant matter grown to generate electricity[1] or produce heat. For example, forest residues (such as dead trees, branches and tree stumps), yard clippings and wood chips may be used as biofuel. However, biomass also includes plant or animal matter used for production of fibers or chemicals. Biomass may also include biodegradable wastes that can be burnt as fuel. It excludes organic material such as fossil fuel which has been transformed by geological processes into substances such as coal or petroleum.

Industrial biomass can be grown from numerous types of plant, including miscanthus, switchgrass, hemp, corn, poplar, willow, sorghum, sugarcane, and a variety of tree species, ranging from eucalyptus to oil palm (palm oil). The particular plant used is usually not important to the end products, but it does affect the processing of the raw material.

Although fossil fuels have their origin in ancient biomass, they are not considered biomass by the generally accepted definition because they contain carbon that has been "out" of the carbon cycle for a very long time. Their combustion therefore disturbs the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere.

Plastics from biomass, like some recently developed to dissolve in seawater, are made the same way as petroleum-based plastics. These plastics are actually cheaper to manufacture and meet or exceed most performance standards, but they lack the same water resistance or longevity as conventional plastics.

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