Tag Archives | alternative fuel

Future Planes Will Burn Sawdust & Straw

Airbus A380 blue skySounds too good to be true, but apparently this is a real possibility. From Reuters:

Passenger jets could be chomping on straw or flying on fuel extracted from sawdust in coming years as the search widens for cleaner alternatives to kerosene, French scientists say.

The “ProBio3″ project, started in early July and co-financed by a French government economic stimulus program, aims to use traditional horse-bedding materials to develop a new kind of biofuel that can be used in a 50/50 blend alongside kerosene.

“Tomorrow, planes will fly using agricultural and forest waste,” said Carole Molina-Jouve, a professor at Toulouse’s National Institute of Applied Sciences (Insa), who is coordinating the ProBio3 project.

“We already know how to set up a basic production line but we must move towards an industrial line,” she said. “We need to translate what is done in laboratories to the real environment while improving its profitability and efficiency.”…

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Yesterday’s News Could Be Tomorrow’s Fuel

800px-World_newspapers_Everyday millions of newspapers are read and then throw out or, hopefully, recycled. Instead of turning those papers into other paper products, they may be able to be used for fuel. Via Discovery News:

Tulane University scientists discovered a strain of clostridia bacteria, dubbed “TU-103,” that can devour old newspapers to produce butanol, a substitute for gasoline.

Old editions of the Times Picayune, New Orleans’ daily newspaper, have been successfully used by the researchers to produce butanol from the cellulose in the paper. Cellulose is a structural material in plants.

TU-103 is the first bacterial strain found in nature (not genetically engineered) to produce butanol directly from cellulose. It is also the only strain yet found that can grow in the presence of oxygen. Keeping bacterial fermentation chambers air tight makes other strains more expensive to work with.

“This discovery could reduce the cost to produce bio-butanol,” said David Mullin, who’s lab discovered the bacterial strain, in a Tulane press release.

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German Inventor Saves Fuel By Flying A Kite

SkySail kite being demonstrated at promotional event. Photo: Ursula Horn (CC)

SkySail kite being demonstrated at promotional event. Photo: Ursula Horn (CC)

SkySails has invented a method that could cut down on ‘fuel consumption, costs and carbon footprints’ for commercial ships by developing giant kites. The Raw Story reports:

The blue-hulled vessel would slip by unnoticed on most seas if not for the white kite, high above her prow, towing her to what its creators hope will be a bright, wind-efficient future.

The enormous kite, which looks like a paraglider, works in tandem with the ship’s engines, cutting back on fuel consumption, costs, and carbon footprint.

“Using kites you can harness more energy than with any other type of wind-powered equipment,” said German inventor Stephan Wrage, whose company SkySails is looking for lift-off on the back of worldwide efforts to boost renewable energy.

The 160-square-metre (524-square-foot) kite, tethered to a yellow rope, can sail 500 metres into the skies where winds are both stronger and more stable, according to the 38-year-old Wrage.

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Plant Enzyme To Power Exhaust-Powered Cars

SoybeanFrom Discovery News:

An enzyme found in the roots of soybeans could be the key to cars that run on air.

Vanadium nitrogenase, an enzyme that normally produces ammonia from nitrogen gas, can also convert carbon monoxide (CO), a common industrial byproduct, into propane, the blue-flamed gas found on stoves across America.

While scientists caution the research is still at an early stage, they say that this study could eventually lead to new, environmentally friendly ways to produce fuel — and eventually gasoline — from thin air.

“This organism is a very common soil bacteria that is very well understood and has been studied for a long time,” said Markus Ribbe, a scientist at the University of California, Irvine, and a co-author of the new paper that appears in the journal Science.

“But while we were studying it, we realized that the enzyme has some unusual behavior,” he added.

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