Academics develop PET-like plastics from biomass waste

Read the full story at Resource.

New research from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne’s (EPFL) School of Basic Sciences has revealed a method for the creation of PET-like plastics using biomass waste. According to its developers, the new method shows great promise in meeting the demand for more sustainable options within the plastics industry.

Researchers create method for breaking down plant materials for earth-friendly energy

Read the full story from Michigan State University.

Researchers have developed a chemical method that enables electricity and water to break the strong chemical bonds in biomass or plant matter. This “electrocatalytic” process could be applied to lignin, a carbon-rich biomass component that is usually discarded or simply burned as a byproduct of making paper. This new tool also has the potential to destroy environmental pollutants.

Developing a degradation-triggerable plastic made of vanillin

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From inexpensive mass products to tailored high-tech materials, our modern world without plastics is unimaginable. The major downside to this is the use of fossil fuels and the growing quantities of waste. A new approach could be the production of high-grade plastics made from biomass that could be made to fall apart into recyclable components. The “destruct command” would be given with light of a specific wavelength, as demonstrated by researchers in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

Revolutionary biomass-based plastic used for blister packaging

Read the full story at European Pharmaceutical Review.

Astellas’ use of biomass-based plastics represents the world’s first use of biomass plastic for drug blister packaging.

Balancing bioenergy goals

Read the full story from North Carolina State University.

The NC Department of Agriculture funds research and development of second-generation bioenergy crops through the NC Bioenergy Initiative. While biomass crops like corn, sugarcane, and grasses offer NC growers an attractive renewable energy option, agricultural and environmental concerns suggest that biomass crop production could cannibalize commodity crop acreage or environmentally sensitive forests and wetlands. Biomass crops are typically designated for ‘marginal’ agricultural land, but there has been no explicit agreement on the term’s definition.

In the first stage of an ongoing bioenergy research project, NC State Professor of Soil Physics and Hydrology, Josh Heitman, and his research team sought to establish practical criteria to identify marginal agricultural land in North Carolina.

Webinar: GTI Tech Talk: Producing Low or Negative Carbon Fuels from Sustainable Biomass Resources

May 12, 2021, 10 am CDT
Register here.

Pedro Ortiz-Toral discusses bio-derived diesel and biomass conversion

Biomass can be used to produce clean alternative transportation fuels that maintain the energy density and storability advantages of liquid fuels while offering unique solutions for difficult-to-decarbonize sectors such as marine transportation and aviation.

Transformational technologies that produce low-carbon fuels from renewable resources are being demonstrated at facilities all around the world. This engaging webinar will present insight on near-market and other improved process technologies that can even enable carbon negative energy when combined with carbon sequestration.

ISU research looks to turn waste into fuel

Read the full story at the Daily Nonpariel.

Researchers at Iowa State University are working with others to determine new methods of turning biomass and manure into fuel.

The key to the project is using anaerobic digestion to generate renewable natural gas, according to Mark Mba Wright, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Iowa State.

Iowa State joined with Penn State University and Roeslein Alternative Energy in getting a five-year, $10 million grant from USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture for the project.

Webinar: Bioenergy: Growing America’s Energy Future

April 21, 2021, noon CDT
Register here.

This webinar will feature an opportunity to meet the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) acting director, chief scientist, and chief engineer. They will detail BETO’s research and development efforts to enable the U.S. bioeconomy. The panel of speakers includes:

  • Dr. Valerie Sarisky-Reed, Acting Director
  • Dr. Jay Fitzgerald, Chief Scientist
  • Dr. Reyhaneh Shenassa, Chief Engineer

Join the panel as they discuss high priority BETO topics including:

  • BETO program overview
  • Plastics recycling initiatives
  • Waste-to-energy efforts
  • Engaging farmers as clean energy partners
  • Carbon dioxide utilization
  • Advancements in marine and aviation biofuels.

Mustard family member seen as biofuel source

Read the full story at Biomass Magazine.

Lesquerella (a.k.a. Fendler’s bladderpod and Yellow Top) is a member of the mustard family that’s native to the U.S. Southwest. But Agricultural Research Service scientists are now eyeing it as a home-grown source of butanol.

Butanol is a cleaner-burning alternative to gasoline that was produced worldwide until after World War II, when making this fuel from petroleum sources proved more efficient than fermenting it from corn and molasses.

Now, using the latest advances in fermentation and product-recovery technology, a team at ARS’ National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois, hopes to rekindle the production of butanol as a biobased fuel, among other groups.

Love-hate relationship of solvent and water leads to better biomass breakup

Read the full story from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory used neutron scattering and supercomputing to better understand how an organic solvent and water work together to break down plant biomass, creating a pathway to significantly improve the production of renewable biofuels and bioproducts.

The discovery, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sheds light on a previously unknown nanoscale mechanism that occurs during biomass deconstruction and identifies optimal temperatures for the process.

Associated journal article: Sai Venkatesh Pingali, Micholas Dean Smith, Shih-Hsien Liu, Takat B. Rawal, Yunqiao Pu, Riddhi Shah, Barbara R. Evans, Volker S. Urban, Brian H. Davison, Charles M. Cai, Arthur J. Ragauskas, Hugh M. O’Neill, Jeremy C. Smith, Loukas Petridis (2020). “Deconstruction of biomass enabled by local demixing of cosolvents at cellulose and lignin surfaces.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117 (29) 16776-16781; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1922883117