Ethanol

Move over corn, a new source of ethanol is in town

Publication: NBC News   Date: August 1, 2013   View Article

Commercial quantities of the alternative fuel ethanol are being produced from wood waste and other vegetative matter, a chemical company announced Wednesday. The milestone holds potential to curb the controversial practice of using corn kernels to brew the fuel that is commonly mixed with gasoline.

Several companies have been racing in recent years to develop the technology required to produce ethanol from cellulose — the woody parts of plants — and many are close to firing up commercial facilities. INEOS Bio is at the finish line.

Eternal youth: A fix for biofuels

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: October 11, 2011   View Article

The push to wean the biofuel industry off its heavy diet of corn may, ironically, involve transferring a corn gene to non-corn plants such as switch grass, suggests a new study.

The gene, called Corngrass 1, essentially locks the switch grass into a state of perpetual pre-adolescence, explained George Chuck, a plant molecular geneticist at the University of California at Berkeley.

“One of the consequences of staying juvenile forever is they don’t flower, they don’t become sexually mature,” he said.

Biofuel push a bust, report hints

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: October 5, 2011   View Article

Unless a major technological breakthrough occurs in the next few years, a U.S. government push to put 16 billions of gallons of cellulosic biofuel into gas tanks annually by 2022 will be a bust, hints a new report.

The push comes from the congressionally mandated Renewable Fuel Standard. Of the mandated total of 36 billion gallons from a mix of biofuels, the corn-derived ethanol target of 15 billion gallons is doable, the report says.

With U.S. Farmland Maxed Out, Growers Tap Into Reserves

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 2, 2008   View Article

Even though soaring commodity prices are bringing new pressures to increase agricultural output, U.S. farmland is maxed out, limiting any response to price hikes and highlighting how agricultural productivity has failed to keep pace with increasing world demand, experts say.

“Grass Gas” Shows Promise as Superefficient, Clean Fuel

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 8, 2008   View Article

Ethanol made from a prairie grass shows promise as a viable fuel that could be much more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient than corn ethanol, a new study says.

Ethanol is often touted as a cleaner-burning gasoline alternative that lessens dependence on oil.

Ethanol Not So Green After All?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 11, 2006   View Article

High gas prices, the threat of shrinking oil reserves, and global warming guilt are driving interest in ethanol, biodeisel, and other biofuels—energy sources produced from agricultural plant matter rather than fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

But can biofuels really replace petroleum products? And are they really better for the environment than fossil fuels?

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach