The Energy 202: The EPA is targeting biofuels. Chuck Grassley isn’t happy.

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The Iowa congressional delegation and the Environmental Protection Agency, led by Scott Pruitt, are on a collision course over an issue central to the economic viability of biofuels — and to the farmers in Iowa growing the corn and other agricultural products that go into them.

2017 – New Bioways for Highways – Year Four

A three-year University of Illinois study of using grasses mowed along Illinois highways for energy has been funded for a large pilot implementation during 2017-18. The multi-disciplinary team estimated the state-wide practice could defray the cost of mowing and add more than $2 million in income for the funding agency — the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Researchers identify cheaper, greener biofuels processing catalyst

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

Fuels that are produced from nonpetroleum-based biological sources may become greener and more affordable, thanks to research performed at the University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institutethat examines the use of a processing catalyst made from palladium metal and bacteria.

Biofuels are made from renewable materials such as plants or algae, and offer an alternative to petroleum-based sources. However, many biofuels are costly to produce because the precursor product, bio-oil, must be processed before it is sent to the refinery to be turned into liquid fuel. Illinois Sustainability Technology Center researcher B.K. Sharma and his co-authors have identified and tested a new processing method.

Sandia helps HelioBioSys understand new clean energy source

Read the full story from Sandia National Laboratory.

You might not cook with this sugar, but from a biofuels standpoint, it’s pretty sweet. A Bay Area company has patented a group of three single-celled, algae-like organisms that, when grown together, can produce high quantities of sugar just right for making biofuels. Sandia National Laboratories is helping HelioBioSys Inc. learn whether farming them on a large scale would be successful.

Potato waste processing may be the road to enhanced food waste conversion

Read the full story from Penn State University.

With more than two dozen companies in Pennsylvania manufacturing potato chips, it is no wonder that researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have developed a novel approach to more efficiently convert potato waste into ethanol. This process may lead to reduced production costs for biofuel in the future and add extra value for chip makers.

Using potato mash made from the peelings and potato residuals from a Pennsylvania food-processor, researchers triggered simultaneous saccharification — the process of breaking down the complex carbohydrate starch into simple sugars — and fermentation — the process in which sugars are converted to ethanol by yeasts or other microorganisms in bioreactors.

Recycling dirty aluminum foil might not be practical — but it could be used to make biofuel

Read the full story from Waste Dive.

  • Dirty aluminum foil can be converted into a catalyst for biofuel production, according to a researcher at Queen’s University Belfast. Recycling aluminum from all feedstock is critical, according to the paper, (published in Scientific Reports), because bauxite mining, the main source of aluminum, is environmentally damaging.
  • The researchers were able to dissolve the foil in a solution that turned it into crystals, and then used a second mixture to purify the crystals into pure aluminum salts, according to Mental Floss. Those pure salts can be used in creating alumina catalyst, which is a key ingredient in making dimethyl ether (DME), a diesel substitute.
  • According to the author of the paper, producing the alumina catalyst from dirty aluminum foil costs about $142 per kilogram (just over 2 lbs.), while the commercial cost for the alumina catalyst is around $360 per kilogram — demonstrating significant savings.