South Korean tech breakthrough could change biofuels forever


Researchers in South Korea have made a major breakthrough in using bacteria to sustainably and efficiently produce biofuels. The team of scientists from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) report that they have developed a new kind of engineered microorganisms that are capable of producing greater volumes of the fatty acids that make up biodiesel than ever before.

A team of researchers from KAIST released a study detailing their discovery last month in the scientific journal Nature Chemical Biology. The paper, titled “Engineering of an oleaginous bacterium for the production of fatty acids and fuels” details the development of these record-breaking microorganisms which could prove to be a key breakthrough in the effort to develop sustainable, bio-based energy sources to replace dirtier, finite fossil fuels.

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Scientists create cyborg rose


Swedish scientists are taking the futuristic idea of plant cyborgs and making the leap from science fiction to real-world science. They have been working on ways to regulate plant growth, using electronic wires grown inside the plants own nutrient channels to host sensors and drug-delivery systems. The aim is to provide just the right amount of plant hormones at just the right time. Such efforts could provide even more precise human control over plant production and agriculture.

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Calysta, Inc. believes natural gas can feed the world


Alan Shaw, CEO Calysta, right and Josh Silverman, the chief scientific officer.

Methane, the primary component of natural gas, can be gobbled up by protein-producing microbes. The protein biomass is converted into things like food for farmed salmon or chemicals or other products, according to Ian Shaw, CEO of Calysta Inc., and Josh Silverman, the chief scientific officer. That salmon, of course, is an important source of protein that could serve a growing human population.



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What is the future for biofuels?

What happened to biofuels?

Everybody was talking about biofuels a few years ago. Politicians in the U.S. saw corn ethenol as a path to “energy independence,” while greener folks preferred biodiesel made from waste cooking oil. Fans of biofuels said that these were supposed to be just a bridge to second-generation biofuels like cellulosic ethanol and algae biodiesel; these wouldn’t be made from food crops or limited feedstocks, and they would be much greener overall.



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Scientists produce biofuel from recycled newspapers


Tulane University has applied for a patent for a method to produce the biofuel butanol from organic material.

Scientists have found one way that old-fashioned newspaper beats the internet. Tulane University scientists have discovered a novel bacterial strain, dubbed “TU-103,” that can use paper to produce butanol, a biofuel that can serve as a substitute for gasoline. They are currently experimenting with old editions of the Times Picayune, New Orleans’ venerable daily newspaper, with great success.


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Whiskey Biofuel 30% More Powerful Than Ethanol

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Scientists at Edinburgh Napier University had developed a new biofuel from the by-products of whiskey distilling.

The food versus fuel debate already has many people worried that we can’t feed the world and power our cars. but some folks are claiming we can power (some of) our cars, feed the world and have a drink in the process. Karin already reported on Scottish efforts to create biofuels from byproducts of distilling, and now it looks like such efforts are paying off. The resulting fuel may even offer significant performance improvements over regular ethanol.


Super-Yeast Developed That Can Generate Ethanol from Energy Crops and Agricultural Waste


Super-yeast is a significant step toward developing ‘second generation’ biofuels.

A new type of baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) has been developed which can efficiently ferment pentose sugars, as found in agricultural waste and hardwoods. Researchers writing in BioMed Central’s open access journal Biotechnology for Biofuels describe the creation of the new S. cerevisiae strain, TMB3130, which demonstrated significantly improved aerobic growth rate and final biomass concentration on sugar media composed of two pentoses, xylose and arabinose.


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Study of Biofuel Use Shows Large Climate Benefit

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Ethanol and biogas use in Sweden shows a large climate benefit, resulting in between 65 to 140 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than petrol and diesel, even when so-called direct and indirect soil effects are included, a new research study shows.

The Sahara Forest Project – A Renewable Energy Oasis

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The Sahara Forest Project

The Sahara Forest Project is a unique combination of proven environmental technologies, such as solar thermal power, modern biomass production and the Seawater Greenhouse.  The resulting synergies enable restorative growth in the world’s most arid regions. (Pics)


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British Airways Set To Fly On Fuel From Garbage In 2014


British Airways set to fly on fuel from garbage

British Airways is planning to establish Europe’s first green jet fuel plant that would turn rubbish into carbon-neutral aviation fuel by the year 2014.   According to the Independent, British Airways would establish the plant, in collaboration with the US bioenergy company Solena.

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Eco-Pod Vertical Farming Tended By Robots


Boston architects Howeler + Yoon and Los Angeles digital designers Squared Design Lab have designed a conceptual structure for Boston, where an unfinished building would be covered in modular pods growing algae for biofuel.  The pods would be continuously rearranged by robotic arms (powered by the micro-algae produced) to ensure the optimum growing conditions for alage in each pod.


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