Biobased and Renewable Products News: Research

October 3, 2014
DOE Announces Funding Opportunity For Targeted Algal Biofuels And Bioproducts
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $25 million in funding to reduce the cost of algal biofuels to less than $5 per gasoline gallon equivalent (gge) by 2019. On behalf of the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy posted a notice of a funding opportunity, entitled "Targeted Algal Biofuels and Bioproducts" (TABB). The TABB Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) looks for pathways to overcome the key barriers to commercializing algal biofuels: the high cost of producing algal biomass and the low yield of target ... read more >
October 3, 2014
Micromidas Researching Use Of Sugar Beet Waste As Biobased Feedstock
BRAG member Micromidas, along with the Michigan Molecular Institute and Michigan Sugar Company, is working on a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from DOE with the goal of developing a process to convert sugar beet waste into useful chemicals. After sugar has been extracted from sugar beets, the remaining residue still contains a significant amount of sugars that can be converted into biobased PET. The development of biobased packaging materials, such as those championed by Coca-Cola, Heinz, and Proctor & Gamble, has resulted in an increased demand for biobased ... read more >
October 3, 2014
Researchers Develop Technique For Turning Winery Waste Into Biofuels
Winery waste is composed of the skins, pulp, stalks, and seeds that are left over after grapes have been pressed. This waste cannot be used for animal feed or composted, so it typically ends up as toxic landfill. Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology have been investigating how to break down the grape waste and Ph.D. student Avinash Karpe has discovered four fungi, that when combined with a heat activated pre-treatment, successfully broke down grape waste biomass. This process resulted in the production of alcohols, acids, and simple sugars which could have industrial and ... read more >
October 3, 2014
Variant Straw Plants Lead To Improved Biofuel Production
Researchers from the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products at the University of York worked with colleagues in France to discover variant straw plants whose cell walls are more easily broken down to make biofuels. Straw is an ideal plant to be used as biomass as it does not have food uses and contains a high number of polysaccharides that can be fermented into ethanol. Previously, straw has not been commercially viable as a biofuel feedstock as the cost of breaking down the straw to produce sugars is too high. This research identified 12 straw variants that are easier to digest without ... read more >
September 19, 2014
National Academies Holds Public Meeting On Genetically Engineered Crops -- Webinar To Be Held October 1, 2014
The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies hosted the first public meeting for the Committee on Genetically Engineered Crops: Past Experience and Future Prospects on September 15-17, 2014. This public meeting was the first of a series of events that are part of NRC's ongoing study to determine the benefits and risks of genetically engineered crops. A webinar related to this study has been scheduled for October 1, 2014, and more information is available online. A transcript of the public meeting held September 15-17, 2014, is available ... read more >
September 12, 2014
Southwest Research Institute Announces Improved Circulating Fluidized Bed
A custom designed circulating fluidized bed (CFB) has been created so that engineers at Southwest Research Institute can convert crude oil and biofeedstocks into refined fuel samples for clients more efficiently than previously possible. The CFB is able to produce half a liter per hour of samples, and is able to test both fast pyrolysis processes as well as fluidized catalytic cracking refinery unit operations. This is in part due to the 15 foot tall, 150 square foot CFB being much larger than conventional testing equipment which produces much smaller quantities of material. More ... read more >
September 5, 2014
DOE KBase
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has developed a computational platform known as Systems Biology Knowledgebase, or KBase, designed to help the biological community analyze, store, and share data. The project is led by scientists at DOE's Lawrence Berkeley, Argonne, Brookhaven, and Oak Ridge national laboratories. KBase compiles information on plants and microbes, and the interactions among them with the objective of improving the environment and energy production. KBase can be accessed at http://kbase.us/. More information on KBase and its objectives can be found ... read more >
September 5, 2014
CCEI Teams With Consumer Goods, Car Companies In Renewable Plastics Research
The Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (CCEI) at the University of Delaware announced a research project with the Plant PET Technology Collaborative (PTC) that will address the production of plastics with properties useful in fabric, food, and beverage packaging and car parts. Researchers hope to further the 2012 CCEI advances that led to a high yield (>90 percent) p-xylene process from renewable biomass. See ... read more >
September 5, 2014
First Ionic Liquid Made From Plant Waste
Chemistry World reports that ionic liquids could potentially be made more cheaply by recycling by-products from biofuel production processes. These ionic liquids derived from biofuel waste could then actually be turned to extracting sugars from biomass to be made into fuels. See ... read more >
August 22, 2014
DOE Announces Intent To Issue Funding Opportunity For Algae Biofuels And Bioproducts
On August 20, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it intends to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) sometime in September to help reduce the cost of algae biofuels and bioproducts. DOE explains in the announcement that the Agency's Bioenergy Technologies Office's (BETO) "2019 projected state of technology for the cost of algal biofuels is modeled at about $7 per gallon gasoline gallon equivalent, without valuable co-products such as animal feed or commodity chemicals. This FOA seeks to improve the value proposition for algal biofuels by employing ... read more >
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