Thursday, February 28, 2008

Next Generation Biofuels

The NSF (National Science Foundation) in conjunction with the DOE has unveiled what it believes is the roadmap to hydrocarbon biofuels production. Hydrocarbons are chains of carbon with hydrogens attached and you might commonly know these mixtures as gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel. Science and scientists have been unable to bridge the gap between plants and gasoline production on a large scale like what they've done with ethanol. NSF hasn't answered the problem, but it lays out in a concise form how hydrocarbons could be produced using biological and engineering techniques, (some of which they anticipate the pathways being elucidated or refined in order to maximize production ability). This announcement is good news for scientists, such as myself, who are already looking into the problem as it signals a new round of interest, and possibly funding, for projects dealing with next-generation biofuels. This is not to say that the age of ethanol is over, far from it, this is merely the gearing up of what might amount to several years of research to hopefully uncover the answer. What NSF provides is an umbrella of support to bring scientists and engineers together to solve a problem that will probably take a little of both.

Here is a layout of what they see as a "Roadmap to Hydrocarbon Biofuels Production"

For the full article, follow the link below:

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