Biofuel

6:00am

Thu May 29, 2014
Agriculture

Miscanthus: A Growing Energy Crop

Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa are all working on a project to plant, study and harvest miscanthus for biofuel.
Credit Rick Fredericksen / Harvest Public Media

Miscanthus, a relative of sugar cane that looks like bamboo, could be the Midwest’s next energy crop. But in a region dominated by corn and soybeans, it has yet to fully catch on, even as advocates tout its advantages.

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1:06am

Tue March 11, 2014
The Salt

Turning Food Waste Into Fuel Takes Gumption And Trillions Of Bacteria

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 11:12 am

The digester eggs at Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn contain millions of gallons of black sludge.
Courtesy of New York City Department of Environmental Protection

Every year, Americans send millions of tons of food to the landfill. What if you could use all of those pizza crusts and rotten vegetables to heat your home? That's already happening in one unlikely laboratory: the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn.

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5:13am

Fri June 28, 2013
Environment

Put Down Oil Drill, Pick Up The Test Tube: Making Fuel From Yeast

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 8:41 pm

Jay Keasling (left), speaking with Rajit Sapar at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, is pioneering a technique to develop diesel fuel from yeast.
Courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

What if we could get our gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel from yeast instead of from oil wells? That's not as crazy as it sounds. In fact, it's already happening on a small scale. And there's a vigorous research effort to ramp this up on a massive scale.

One of the more innovative approaches uses a new technology called "synthetic biology." Jay Keasling is one of the leaders in this hot field.

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3:35pm

Sat February 23, 2013
The Two-Way

Flipping The Switch: What It Takes To Prioritize Electric Cars

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 8:48 am

A Ford Focus electric concept car with a home charging unit on display at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich., in January.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

"Electricity is the most likely out of all of the alternative fuels ... to be the next fuel for the consumer."

That's what Jonathan Strickland of the website HowStuffWorks tells NPR's Jacki Lyden.

But electric vehicles are not without their controversies or challenges. One of the biggest questions is how a transition from gasoline to electric fuel can actually take place.

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3:11pm

Wed January 16, 2013
Environment

Could Some Midwest Land Support New Biofuel Refineries?

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 5:16 am

Vegetation like the kind growing here at Michigan State University's Kellogg Biological Station could one day be used to feed small biofuel refineries spread throughout the Midwest.
J.E.Doll Michigan State University

Millions of acres of marginal farmland in the Midwest — land that isn't in good enough condition to grow crops — could be used to produce liquid fuels made from plant material, according to a study in Nature. And those biofuels could, in theory, provide about 25 percent of the advanced biofuels required by a 2007 federal law.

But there are many ifs and buts about this study — and, in fact, about the future of advanced biofuels.

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