Kirtika Kohli and BK Sharma have been busy in the lab creating a greener delignification method for biofuels refinery processes. Many see biofuels as a viable alternative to fossil fuels because they are renewable and can reduce carbon emissions through plant growth. However, biomass needs to be processed before it can be converted to biofuels.
Lignin is a substance found in plants that makes them rigid and woody. Lignin helps plants resist rotting, so biomass harvested for biofuels must undergo a pre-treatment process to break down the lignin. Once lignin is removed, the remaining biomass could be easily converted to monomeric sugars, which can be converted biochemically into biofuels and other components in a biorefinery. With some additional refinement, the extracted lignin has the potential to be used in other applications in biofuels, biolubricants, polymers, binders, and biochemicals.
Current delignification processes have limited industrial applications because of their high costs, toxicity, and inability to recycle/reuse the chemicals used in the process. The team’s new method is more efficient, economic, and less toxic than current processes. It should ease operation/maintenance requirements and the need for special equipment as well as increase cost-effectiveness and recyclability. Their process is able to extract 85-88% of the lignin from Birchwood and Miscanthus (the two biomasses tested).
The team also developed a new lignin quantification method. The delignification process developed dissolves lignin into a green solvent that can be directly used for the quantification using a UV-Vis spectrophotometer. This new method is easier and more accurate than older lignin quantification methods, which were based on weight of the lignin yields that resulted in rough estimates.
A 1,000-pound dairy cow produces an average of 80 pounds of manure each day. Multiply that by the estimated 9 million dairy cattle in the U.S., and that’s a lot of manure.
Dominion Energy, one of the nation’s largest energy producers — headquartered in Richmond, Va. — wants to put some of that tremendous amount of livestock waste to good use by converting poop into power, while at the same time, reducing pollution.
Adidas will launch new fabrics made from recycled polyester and marine plastic waste and expand the product lines that use them after the success of shoes made with the Parley for the Oceans initiative, the sportswear firm said on Tuesday.
Since the Industrial Revolution, the environmental impacts of energy have posed a concern. Recently, this has driven researchers to search for viable options for clean and renewable energy sources.
Due to its affordability and environmental friendliness, hydrogen is a feasible alternative to fossil fuels for energy applications. However, due to its low density, hydrogen is difficult to transport efficiently, and many on-board hydrogen generation methods are slow and energy intensive.
Microplastic pollution in the world’s oceans is a growing problem, and most studies of the issue have focused on land-based sources, such as discarded plastic bags or water bottles. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology have linked microplastics in China’s Beibu Gulf with heavy fishing activities. Surprisingly, many of the particles were hidden in deep sediments on the ocean floor, which could have led scientists to underestimate the extent of the contamination.
A study by Alliant Energy found that the average Wisconsin household was wasting money and power on “always on” electronics, like coffee pots or DVD players. “Energy efficiency is a slam-dunk win on an economic basis.”
There is an innovation gap in urban agriculture, suggests Aberystwyth University Professor Huw Jones, whereby we have ‘huge innovation’ in vertical farming, yet still use ‘old seeds’ and ‘old plant architecture’.